Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Being a boy
 The boy as farmer
 The delights of farming
 No farming without a boy
 The boy's Sunday
 The grindstone of life
 Fiction and sentiment
 The coming of Thanksgiving
 The season of pumpkin-pie
 First experience of the world
 Home inventions
 The lonely farm-house
 John's first party
 The sugar camp
 The heart of New England
 John's revival
 Country scenes
 A contrast to the New England...
 Back Matter
 Back Cover

Title: Being a boy
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00085977/00001
 Material Information
Title: Being a boy
Physical Description: x, 186, 1 p., 32 leaves of plates : ill. ; 20 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Warner, Charles Dudley, 1829-1900
Johnson, Clifton, 1865-1940 ( Photographer )
Houghton, Mifflin and Company ( Publisher )
Riverside Press (Cambridge, Mass.)
H.O. Houghton & Company
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin and Co.
Riverside Press
Place of Publication: Boston ;
New York
Manufacturer: Electrotyped and printed by H.O. Houghton and Co.
Publication Date: 1897
Subject: Boys -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Farm life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Country life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Amusements -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Boys -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Juvenile fiction -- New England   ( lcsh )
Photographs -- 1897   ( gmgpc )
Bldn -- 1897
Genre: Photographs   ( gmgpc )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston
United States -- New York -- New York
United States -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge
Statement of Responsibility: by Charles Dudley Warner ; with illustrations from photographs by Clifton Johnson.
General Note: Title page printed in red and black.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00085977
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002239421
notis - ALH9949
oclc - 239556847

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
        Page i
    Title Page
        Page ii
        Page iii
    Table of Contents
        Page iv
    List of Illustrations
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
    Being a boy
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 2a
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 4a
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
    The boy as farmer
        Page 8
        Page 8a
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 10a
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
    The delights of farming
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 16a
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 20a
        Page 21
    No farming without a boy
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 28a
        Page 29
    The boy's Sunday
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 32a
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 36a
        Page 37
    The grindstone of life
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 44a
        Page 45
        Page 46
    Fiction and sentiment
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 48a
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 50a
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
    The coming of Thanksgiving
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 58a
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
    The season of pumpkin-pie
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
    First experience of the world
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 74a
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
    Home inventions
        Page 82
        Page 82a
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 88a
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
    The lonely farm-house
        Page 92
        Page 92a
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
    John's first party
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 110a
        Page 111
        Page 112
    The sugar camp
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 118a
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 120a
        Page 121
        Page 122
    The heart of New England
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 126a
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 132a
        Page 133
    John's revival
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 136a
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 140a
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 146a
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
    Country scenes
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 166a
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 168a
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 170a
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 178a
    A contrast to the New England boy
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 180a
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 184a
        Page 185
        Page 186
    Back Matter
        Page 187
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
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The Baldwin Library

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Being a Boy
Charles Dudley

With Illustrations
from Photographs
by Clifton Johnson

Boston and New York
Houghton, Mifflin and Company
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THIS volume was first published over
twenty years ago. If any of the boys de-
scribed in it were real, they have long since
grown up, got married, gone West, become
selectmen or sheriffs, gone to Congress,
invented an electric chur, become editors
or preachers or commercial travelers, writ-
ten a book, served a term as consul to a
country the language of which they did not
know, or plodded along on a farm, culti-
vating rheumatism and acquiring invalu-
able knowledge of the most fickle weather
known in a region which has all the fasci-
nation and all the power of being disagree-
able belonging to the most accomplished
coquette in the world.

The rural life described is that of New
England between 1830 and 1850, in a
period of darkness, before the use of lucifer
matches; but when, although religion had a
touch of gloom and all pleasure was height-
ened by a timorous apprehension that it
was sin, the sun shone, the woods were full
of pungent scents, nature was strong in its
invitations to cheerfulness, and girls were
as sweet and winsome as they are in the
old ballads.
The object of the papers composing the
volume -though "object" is a strong
word to use about their waywardness--
was to recall scenes in the boy-life of New
England, or the impressions that a boy had
of that life. There was no attempt at the
biography of any particular boy; the expe-
riences given were common to the boyhood
of the time and place. While the book,
therefore, was not consciously biographical,
it was of necessity written out of a personal

knowledge. And I may be permitted to
say that, as soon as I became conscious
that I was dealing with a young life of the
past, I tried to be faithful to it, strictly so,
and to import into it nothing of later expe-
rience, either in feeling or performance. I
invented nothing, not an adventure, not
a scene, not an emotion. I know from
observation how difficult it is for an adult
to write about childhood. Invention is apt
to supply details that memory does not
carry. The knowledge of the man insen-
sibly inflates the boyhood limitations. The
temptation is to make a psychological analy-
sis of the boy's life and aspirations, and
to interpret them according to the man's
view of life. It seems comparatively easy
to write stories about boys, and even bio-
graphies; but it is not easy to resist the
temptation of inventing scenes to make
them interesting, indulging in exaggera-
tions both of adventure and of feeling

which are not true to experience, invent-
ing details impossible to be recalled by
the best memory, and states of mind which
are psychologically untrue to the boy's con-
How far I succeeded in keeping the man
out of the boy's life, my readers can judge
better than the writer. The volume origi-
nally made no sensation -how could it,
pitched in such a key ? but it has gone
on peacefully, and, I am glad to acknow-
ledge, has made many valuable friends. It
started a brook, and a brook it has con-
tinued. In sending out this new edition
with Mr. Clifton Johnson's pictures, lov-
ingly taken from the real life and heart of
New England, I may express the hope
that the boy of the remote generation will
lose no friends.
C. D. W.
HARTFORD, May 8, 1897.




ONE of the best things in the world to be
is a boy; it requires no experience, though
it needs some practice to be a good one.
The disadvantage of the position is that it
does not last long enough; it is soon over;
just as you get used to being a boy, you
have to be something else, with a good deal
more work to do and not half so much fun.
And yet every boy is anxious to be a man,
and is very uneasy with the restrictions that
are put upon him as a boy. Good fun as it
is to yoke up the calves and play work, there
is not a boy on a farm but would rather drive
a yoke of oxen at real work. What a glori-
ous feeling it is, indeed, when a boy is for
the first time given the long whip and per-

mitted to drive the oxen, walking by their
side, swinging the long lash, and shouting
"Gee, Buck !" Haw, Golden! "Whoa,
Bright! and all the rest of that remark-
able language, until he is red in the face,
and all the neighbors for half a mile are
aware that something unusual is going on.
If I were a boy, I am not sure but I would
rather drive the oxen than have a birthday.
The proudest day of my life was one day
when I rode on the neap of the cart, and
drove the oxen, all alone, with a load of
apples to the cider-mill. I was so little,
that it was a wonder that I did n't fall off,
and get under the broad wheels. Nothing
could make a boy, who cared anything for
his appearance, feel flatter than to be run
over by the broad tire of a cart-wheel. But
I never heard of one who was, and I don't
believe one ever will be. As I said, it was
a great day for me, but I don't remember
that the oxen cared much about it. They
sagged along in their great clumsy way,
switching their tails in my face occasionally,
and now and then giving a lurch to this or
that side of the road, attracted by a choice



tuft of grass. And then I "came the Julius
Caesar" over them, if you will allow me
to use such a slang expression, a liberty
I never should permit you. I don't know
that Julius Caesar ever drove cattle, though
he must often have seen the peasants from
the Campagna "haw" and "gee" them
round the Forum (of course in Latin, a lan-
guage that those cattle understood as well
as ours do English); but what I mean is,
that I stood up and "hollered with all my
might, as everybody does with oxen, as if
they were born deaf, and whacked them
with the long lash over the head, just as
the big folks did when they drove. I think
now that it was a cowardly thing to crack
the patient old fellows over the face and
eyes, and make them wink in their meek
manner. If I am ever a boy again on a
farm, I shall speak gently to the oxen, and
not go screaming round the farm like a
crazy man; and I shall not hit them a
cruel cut with the lash every few minutes,
because it looks big to do so and I cannot
think of anything else to do. I never liked
lickings myself, and I don't know why an

ox should like them, especially as he cannot
reason about the moral improvement he is
to get out of them.
Speaking of Latin reminds me that I
once taught my cows Latin. I don't mean
that I taught them to read it, for it is very
difficult to teach a cow to read Latin or any
of the dead languages, a cow cares more
for her cud than she does for all the classics
put together. But if you begin early you
can teach a cow, or a calf (if you can teach
a calf anything, which I doubt), Latin-as
well as English. There were ten cows,
which I had to escort to and from pasture
night and morning. To these cows I gave
the names of the Roman numerals, begin-
ning with Unus and Duo, and going up to
Decem. Decem was of course the biggest
cow of the party, or at least she was the
ruler of the others, and had the place of
honor in the stable and everywhere else.
I admire cows, and especially the exactness
with which they define their social position.
In this case, Decem could "lick" Novem,
and Novem could "lick" Octo, and so on
down to Unus, who could n't lick anybody,


except her own calf. I suppose I ought to
have called the weakest cow Una instead
of Unus, considering her sex; but I did n't
care much to teach the cows the declen-
sions of adjectives, in which I was not very
well up myself; and besides it would be
of little use to a cow. People who devote
themselves too severely to study of the
classics are apt to become dried up; and
you should never do anything to dry up
a cow. Well, these ten cows knew their
names after a while, at least they appeared
to, and would take their places as I called
them. At least, if Octo attempted to get
before Novem in going through the bars (I
have heard people speak of a "pair of bars "
when there were six or eight of them), or
into the stable, the matter of precedence
was settled then and there, and once settled
there was no dispute about it afterwards.
Novem either put her horns into Octo's
ribs, and Octo shambled to one side, or
else the two locked horns and tried the
game of push and gore until one gave up.
Nothing is stricter than the etiquette of a
party of cows. There is nothing in royal

courts equal to it; rank is exactly settled,
and the same individuals always have the
precedence. You know that at Windsor
Castle, if the Royal Three-Ply Silver Stick
should happen to get in front of the Most
Royal Double and Twisted Golden Rod,
when the court is going in to dinner, some-
thing so dreadful would happen that we
don't dare to think of it. It is certain that
the soup would get cold while the Golden
Rod was pitching the Silver Stick out of
the castle window into the moat, and per-
haps the island of Great Britain itself would
split in two. But the people are very care-
ful that it never shall happen, so we shall
probably never know what the effect would
be. Among cows, as I say, the question is
settled in short order, and in a different
manner from what it sometimes is in other
society. It is said that in other society
there is sometimes a great scramble for the
first place, for the leadership as it is called,
and that women, and men too, fight for
what is called position; and in order to be
first they will injure their neighbors by tell-
ing stories about them and by backbiting,

which is the meanest kind of biting there
is, not excepting the bite of fleas. But in
cow society there is nothing of this detrac-
tion in order to get the first place at the
crib, or the farther stall in the stable. If
the question arises, the cows turn in, horns
and all, and settle it with one square fight,
and that ends it. I have often admired this
trait in cows.
Besides Latin, I used to try to teach the
cows a little poetry, and it is a very good
plan. It does not benefit the cows much,
but it is excellent exercise for a boy farmer.
I used to commit to memory as many short
poems as I could find (the cows liked to
listen to Thanatopsis about as well as any-
thing), and repeat them when I went to the
pasture, and as I drove the cows home
through the sweet ferns and down the rocky
slopes. It improves a boy's elocution a
great deal more than driving oxen.
It is a fact, also, that if a boy repeats
Thanatopsis while he is milking, that opera-
tion acquires a certain dignity.


BoYs in general would be very good
farmers if the current notions about farm-
ing were not so very different from those
they entertain. What passes for laziness
is very often an unwillingness to farm in a
particular way. For instance, some morn-
ing in early summer John is told to catch
the sorrel mare, harness her into the spring
wagon, and put in the buffalo and the best
whip, for father is obliged to drive over to the
" Corners, to see a man about some cattle,
or talk with the road commissioner, or go
to the store for the "women folks," and to
attend to other important business; and
very likely he will not be back till sundown.
It must be very pressing business, for the
old gentleman drives off in this way some-
where almost every pleasant day, and ap-
pears to have a great deal on his mind.


Meantime, he tells John that he can play
ball after he has done up the chores. As
if the chores could ever be "done up on a
farm. He is first to clean out the horse-
stable; then to take a bill-hook and cut
down the thistles and weeds from the fence-
corners in the home mowing-lot and along
the road towards the village; to dig up the
docks round the garden patch; to weed out
the beet-bed; to hoe the early potatoes; to
rake the sticks and leaves out of the front
yard; in short, there is work enough laid
out for John to keep him busy, it seems to
him, till he comes of age; and at half an
hour to sundown he is to go for the cows,
and, mind he don't run 'em !
"Yes, sir," says John, "is that all?"
"Well, if you get through in good sea-
son, you might pick over those potatoes in
the cellar: they are sprouting; they ain't
fit to eat."
John is obliged to his father, for if there
is any sort of chore more cheerful to a boy
than another, on a pleasant day, it is rub-
bing the sprouts off potatoes in a dark
cellar. And the old gentleman mounts his

wagon and drives away down the enticing
road, with the dog bounding along beside
the wagon, and refusing to come back at
John's call. John half wishes he were the
dog. The dog knows the part of farming
that suits him. He likes to run along the
road and see all the dogs and other people,
and he likes best of all to lie on the store
steps at the Corners while his master's
horse is dozing at the post and his master
is talking politics in the store--with the
other dogs of .his acquaintance, snapping
at mutually annoying flies and indulging
in that delightful dog gossip which is ex-
pressed by a wag of the tail and a sniff of
the nose. Nobody knows how many dogs'
characters are destroyed in this gossip; or
how a dog may be able to insinuate suspicion
by a wag of the tail as a man can by a shrug
of the shoulders, or sniff a slander as a
man can suggest one by raising his eye-
John looks after the old gentleman driv-
ing off in state, with the odorous buffalo-
robe and the new whip, and he thinks that
is the sort of farming he would like to


do. And he cries after his departing par-
ent, -
Say, father, can't I go over to the farther
pasture and salt the cattle? John knows
that he could spend half a day very pleas-
antly in going over to that pasture, looking
for bird's-nests and shying at red squirrels
on the way, and who knows but he might
"see" a sucker in the meadow brook, and
perhaps get a "jab" at him with a sharp
stick. He knows a hole where there is a
whopper; and one of his plans in life is to
go some day and snare him, and bring him
home in triumph. It therefore is strongly
impressed upon his mind that the cattle
want salting. But his father, without turn-
ing his head, replies, -
"No, they don't need salting any more'n
you do !" And the old equipage goes rat-
tling down the road, and John whistles his
disappointment. When I was a boy on a
farm, and I suppose it is so now, cattle were
never salted half enough.
John goes to his chores, and gets through
the stable as soon as he can, for that must
be done; but when it comes to the out-

door work, that rather drags. There are
so many things to distract the attention, -
a chipmunk in the fence, a bird on a near
tree, and a hen-hawk circling high in the air
over the barn-yard. John loses a little time
in stoning the chipmunk, which rather likes
the sport, and in watching the bird to find
where its nest is; and he convinces him-
self that he ought to watch the hawk, lest
it pounce upon the chickens, and, there-
fore, with an easy conscience, he spends fif-
teen minutes in hallooing to that distant
bird, and follows it away out of sight over
the woods, and then wishes it would come
back again. And then a carriage with
two horses, and a trunk on behind, goes
along the road; and there is a girl in the
carriage who looks out at John, who is sud-
denly aware that his trousers are patched
on each knee and in two places behind;
and he wonders if she is rich, and whose
name is on the trunk, and how much the
horses cost, and whether that nice-looking
man is the girl's father, and if that boy on
the seat with the driver is her brother, and
if he has to do chores; and as the gay sight

disappears John falls to thinking about the
great world beyond the farm, of cities, and
people who are always dressed up, and a
great many other things of which he has a
very dim notion. And then a boy, whom
John knows, rides by in a wagon with his
father, and the boy makes a face at John,
and John returns the greeting with a twist
of his own visage and some symbolic ges-
tures. All these things take time. The
work of cutting down the big weeds gets on
slowly, although it is not very disagreeable,
or would not be if it were play. John im-
agines that yonder big thistle is some whis-
kered villain, of whom he has read in a fairy
book, and he advances on him with "Die,
ruffian! and slashes off his head with the
bill-hook; or he charges upon the rows of
mullein-stalks as if they were rebels in regi-
mental ranks, and hews them down without
mercy. What fun it might be if there were
only another boy there to help. But even
war, single-handed, gets to be tiresome.
It is dinner-time before John finishes the
weeds, and it is cow-time before John has
made much impression on the garden.

This garden John has no fondness for.
He would rather hoe corn all day than work
in it. Father seems to think that it is easy
work that John can do, because it is near
the house! John's continual plan in this
life is to go fishing. When there comes a
rainy day, he attempts to carry it out. But
ten chances to one his father has different
views. As it rains so that work cannot be
done outdoors, it is a good time to work in
the garden. He can run into the house
during the heavy showers. John accord-
ingly detests the garden; and the only
time he works briskly in it is when he has a
stent set, to do so much weeding before the
Fourth of July. If he is spry he can make
an extra holiday the Fourth and the day
after. Two days of gunpowder and ball-
playing! When I was a boy, I supposed
there was some connection between such
and such an amount of work done on the
farm and our national freedom. I doubted
if there could be any Fourth of July if my
stent was not done. I, at least, worked for
my Independence.


THERE are so many bright spots in the
life of a farm-boy, that I sometimes think
I should like to live the life over again;
I should almost be willing to be a girl if it
were not for the chores. There is a great
comfort to a boy in the amount of work
he can get rid of doing. It is sometimes
astonishing how slow he can go on an
errand, he who leads the school in a race.
The world is new and interesting to him,
and there is so much to take his attention
off, when he is sent to do anything. Per-
haps he couldn't explain, himself, why,
when he is sent to the neighbor's after
yeast, he stops to stone the frogs; he is
not exactly cruel, but he wants to see if he
can hit 'em. No other living thing can go
so slow as a boy sent on an errand. His
legs seem to be lead, unless he happens to

espy a woodchuck in an adjoining lot, when
he gives chase to it like a deer; and it is
a curious fact about boys, that two will be
a great deal slower in doing anything than
one, and that the more you have to help on
a piece of work the less is accomplished.
Boys have a great power of helping each
other to do nothing; and they are so inno-
cent about it, and unconscious. "I went
as quick as ever I could," says the boy:
his father asks him why he did n't stay all
night, when he has been absent three hours
on a ten-minute errand. The sarcasm has
no effect on the boy.
Going after the cows was a serious thing
in my day. I had to climb a hill, which was
covered with wild strawberries in the sea-
son. Could any boy pass by those ripe ber-
ries ? And then in the fragrant hill pasture
there were beds of wintergreen with red
berries, tufts of columbine, roots of sassa-
fras to be dug, and dozens of things good
to eat or to smell, that I could not resist.
It sometimes even lay in my way to climb
a tree to look for a crow's nest, or to swing
in the top, and to try if I could see the




steeple of the village church. It became
very important sometimes for me to see
that steeple; and in the midst of my inves-
tigations the tin horn would blow a great
blast from the farmhouse, which would
send a cold chill down my back in the hot-
test days. I knew what it meant. It had
a frightfully impatient quaver in it, not at
all like the sweet note that called us to din-
ner from the hayfield. It said, "Why on
earth does n't that boy come home ? It is
almost dark, and the cows ain't milked!"
And that was the time the cows had to
start into a brisk pace and make up for
lost time. I wonder if any boy ever drove
the cows home late, who did not say that
the cows were at the very farther end of the
pasture, and that Old Brindle was hidden
in the woods, and he could n't find her for
ever so long The brindle cow is the boy's
scapegoat, many a time.
No other boy knows how to appreciate a
holiday as the farm-boy does; and his best
ones are of a peculiar kind. Going fishing
is of course one sort. The excitement of
rigging up the tackle, digging the bait, and

the anticipation of great luck, these are
pure pleasures, enjoyed because they are
rare. Boys who can go a-fishing any time
care but little for it. Tramping all day
through bush and brier, fighting flies and
mosquitoes, and branches that tangle the
line, and snags that break the hook, and re-
turning home late and hungry, with wet feet
and a string of speckled trout on a willow
twig, and having the family crowd out at
the kitchen door to look at 'em, and say,
" Pretty well done for you, bub; did you
catch that big one yourself ? this is also
pure happiness, the like of which the boy
will never have again, not if he comes to be
selectman and deacon and to "keep store."
But the holidays I recall with delight
were the two days in spring and fall, -when
we went to the distant pasture-land, in a
neighboring town, may be, to drive thither
the young cattle and colts, and to bring
them back again. It was a wild and rocky
upland where our great pasture was, many
miles from home, the road to it running by
a brawling river, and up a dashing brook-
side among great hills. What a day's ad-

venture it was! It was like a journey to
Europe. The night before, I could scarcely
sleep for thinking of it, and there was no
trouble about getting me up at sunrise that
morning. The breakfast was eaten, the
luncheon was packed in a large basket, with
bottles of root beer and a jug of switchel,
which packing I superintended with the
greatest interest; and then the cattle were
to be collected for the march, and the
horses hitched up. Did I shirk any duty?
Was I slow? I think not. I was willing
to run my legs off after the frisky steers,
who seemed to have an idea they were go-
ing on a lark, and frolicked about, dashing
into all gates, and through all bars except
the right ones; and how cheerfully I did
yell at them; it was a glorious chance to
"holler," and I have never since heard any
public speaker on the stump or at camp-
meeting who could make more noise. I
have often thought it fortunate that the
amount of noise in a boy does not increase
in proportion to his size; if it did the world
could not contain it.
The whole day was full of excitement

and of freedom. We were away from the
farm, which to a boy is one of the best
parts of farming; we saw other farms and
other people at work; I had the pleasure
of marching along, arid swinging my whip,
past boys whom I knew, who were picking
up stones. Every turn of the road, every
bend and rapid of the river, the great
boulders by the wayside, the watering-
troughs, the giant pine that had been
struck by lightning, the mysterious covered
bridge over the river where it was most
swift and rocky and foamy, the chance eagle
in the blue sky, the sense of going some-
where, -why, as I recall all these things
I feel that even the Prince Imperial, as he
used to dash on horseback through the
Bois de Boulogne, with fifty mounted hus-
sars clattering at his heels, and crowds of
people cheering, could not have been as
happy as was I, a boy in short jacket and
shorter pantaloons, trudging in the dust
that day behind the steers and colts, crack-
ing my black-stock whip.
I wish the journey would never end; but
at last, by noon, we reach the pastures and


turn in the herd; and, after making the tour
of the lots to make sure there are no breaks
in the fences, we take our luncheon from
the wagon and eat it under the trees by the
spring. This is the supreme moment of the
day. This is the way to live; this is like
the Swiss Family Robinson, and all the rest
of my delightful acquaintances in romance.
Baked beans, rye-and-indian bread (moist,
remember), doughnuts and cheese, pie, and
root beer. What richness You may live
to dine at Delmonico's, or, if those French-
men do not. eat each other up, at Philippe's,
in the Rue Montorgueil in Paris, where the
dear old Thackeray used to eat as good a
dinner as anybody; but you will get there
neither doughnuts, nor pie, nor root beer,
nor anything so good as that luncheon at
noon in the old pasture, high among the
Massachusetts hills! Nor will you ever,
if you live to be the oldest boy in the world,
have any holiday equal to the one I have
described. But I always regretted that I
did not take along a fish-line, just to "throw
in" the brook we passed. I know there
were trout there.


SAY what you will about the general use-
fulness of boys, it is my impression that a
farm without a boy would very soon come
to grief. What the boy does is the life
of the farm. He is the factotum, always
in demand, always expected to do the
thousand indispensable things that nobody
else will do. Upon him fall all the odds
and ends, the most difficult things. After
everybody else is through, he has to finish
up. His work is like a woman's, perpet-
ual waiting on others. Everybody knows
how much easier it is to eat a good dinner
than it is to wash the dishes afterwards.
Consider what a boy on a farm is required
to do; things that must be done, or life
would actually stop.
It is understood, in the first place, that
he is to do all the errands, to go to the

store, to the post-office, and to carry all
sorts of messages. If he had as many legs
as a centipede, they would tire before night.
His two short limbs seem to him entirely
inadequate to the task. He would like to
have as many legs as a wheel has spokes,
and rotate about in the same way. This
he sometimes tries to do; and people who
have seen him "turning cart-wheels" along
the side of the road have supposed that he
was amusing himself, and idling his time;
he was only trying to invent a new mode of
locomotion, so that he could economize his
legs and do his errands with greater dis-
patch. He practices standing on his head,
in order to accustom himself to any posi-
tion. Leap-frog is one of his methods of
getting over the ground quickly. He would
willingly go an errand any distance if he
could leap-frog it with a few other boys.
He has a natural genius for combining
pleasure with business. This is the reason
why, when he is sent to the spring for a
pitcher of water, and the family are waiting
at the dinner-table, he is absent so long;
for he stops to poke the frog that sits on

the stone, or, if there is a penstock, to put
his hand over the spout and squirt the
water a little while. He is the one who
spreads the grass when the men have cut
it; he mows it away in the barn; he rides
the horse to cultivate the corn, up and
down the hot, weary rows; he picks up the
potatoes when they are dug; he drives the
cows night and morning; he brings wood
and water and splits kindling ; he gets up
the horse and puts out the horse; whether
he is in the house or out of it, there is al-
ways something for him to do. Just before
school in winter he shovels paths; in sum-
mer he turns the grindstone. He knows
where there are lots of wintergreen and
sweet flag root, but instead of going for
them he is to stay indoors and pare apples
and stone raisins and pound something in
a mortar. And yet, with his mind full of
schemes of what he would like to do, and
his hands full of occupations, he is an idle
boy who has nothing to busy himself with
but school and chores! He would gladly
do all the work if somebody else would do
the chores, he thinks, and yet I doubt if

any boy ever amounted to anything in the
world, or was of much use as a man, who
did not enjoy the advantages of a liberal
education in the way of chores.
A boy on a farm is nothing without his
pets; at least a dog, and probably rabbits,
chickens, ducks, and guinea hens. A guinea
hen suits a boy. It is entirely useless, and
makes a more disagreeable noise than a
Chinese gong. I once domesticated a young
fox which a neighbor had caught. It is a
mistake to suppose the fox cannot be tamed.
Jacko was a very clever little animal, and
behaved, in all respects, with propriety. He
kept Sunday as well as any day, and all the
ten commandments that he could under-
stand. He was a very graceful playfellow,
and seemed to have an affection for me.
He lived in a woodpile, in the dooryard,
and when I lay down at the entrance to
his house and called him, he would come
out and sit on his tail and lick my face just
like a grown person. I taught him a great
many tricks and all the virtues. That year
I had a large number of hens, and Jacko
went about among them with the most per-

fect indifference, never looking on them to
lust after them, as I could see, and never
touching an egg or a feather. So excellent
was his reputation that I would have trusted
him in the hen-roost in the dark without
counting the hens. In short, he was do-
mesticated, and I was fond of him and very
proud of him, exhibiting him to all our vis-
itors as an example of what affectionate
treatment would do in subduing the brute
instincts. I preferred him to my dog,
whom I had, with much patience, taught to
go up a long hill alone and surround the
cows, and drive them home from the re-
mote pasture. He liked the fun of it at
first, but by and by he seemed to get the
notion that it was a "chore," and when I
whistled for him to go for the cows, he
would turn tail and run the other way, and
the more I whistled and threw stones at
him the faster he would run. His name
was Turk, and I should have sold him if he
had not been the kind of dog that nobody
will buy. I suppose he was not a cow-dog,
but what they call a sheep-dog. At least,
when he got big enough, he used to get

into the pasture and chase the sheep to
death. That was the way he got into trou-
ble, and lost his valuable life. A dog is of
great use on a farm, and that is the reason
a boy likes him. He is good to bite ped-
lers and small children, and run out and
yelp at wagons that pass by, and to howl
all night when the moon shines. And yet,
if I were a boy again, the first thing I
would have should be a dog; for dogs are
great companions, and as active and spry
as a boy at doing nothing. They are also
good to bark at woodchuck holes.
A good dog will bark at a woodchuck
hole long after the animal has retired to a
remote part of his residence, and escaped
by another hole. This deceives the wood-
chuck. Some of the most delightful hours
of my life have been spent in hiding and
watching the hole where the dog was not.
What an exquisite thrill ran through my
frame when the timid nose appeared, was
withdrawn, poked out again, and finally fol-
lowed by the entire animal, who looked cau-
tiously about, and then hopped away to feed
on the clover. At that moment I rushed

in, occupied the "home base," yelled to
Turk and then danced with delight at the
combat between the spunky woodchuck and
the dog. They were about the same size,
but science and civilization won the day. I
did not reflect then that it would have been
more in the interest of civilization if the
woodchuck had killed the dog. I do not
know why it is that boys so like to hunt
and kill animals; but the excuse that I
gave in this case for the murder was, that
the woodchuck ate the clover and trod it
down; and, in fact, was a woodchuck. It
was not till long after that I learned with
surprise that he is a rodent mammal, of the
species Arctomys monax, is called at the
West a ground-hog, and is eaten by peo-
ple of color with great relish.
But I have forgotten my beautiful fox.
Jacko continued to deport himself well until
the young chickens came; he was actually
cured of the fox vice of chicken-stealing.
He used to go with me about the coops,
pricking up his ears in an intelligent man-
ner, and with a demure eye and the most
virtuous droop of the tail. Charming fox!


If he had held out a little while longer, I
should have put him into a Sunday-school
book. But I began to miss chickens. They
disappeared mysteriously in the night. I
would not suspect Jacko at first, for he
looked so honest, and in the daytime he
seemed to be as much interested in the
chickens as I was. But one morning, when
I went to call him, I found feathers at the
entrance of his hole, chicken feathers.
He couldn't deny it. He was a thief.
His fox nature had come out under severe
temptation. And he died an unnatural
death. He had a thousand virtues and one
crime. But that crime struck at the foun-
dation of society. He deceived and stole;
he was a liar and a thief, and no pretty
ways could hide the fact. His intelligent,
bright face couldn't save him. If he had
been honest, he might have grown up to be
a large, ornamental fox.


SUNDAY in the New England hill towns
used to begin Saturday night at sundown;
and the sun is lost to sight behind the hills
there before it has set by the almanac. I
remember that we used to go by the alma-
nac Saturday night and by the visible dis-
appearance Sunday night. On Saturday
night we very slowly yielded to the influ-
ences of the holy time, which were settling
down upon us, and submitted to the ablu-
tions which were as inevitable as Sunday;
but when the sun (and it never moved so
slow) slid behind the hills Sunday night,
the effect upon the watching boy was like a
shock from a galvanic battery; something
flashed through all his limbs and set them
in motion, and no "play" ever seemed so
sweet to him as that between sundown
and dark Sunday night. This, however,

was on the supposition that he had con-
scientiously kept Sunday, and had not gone
in swimming and got drowned. This keep-
ing of Saturday night instead of Sunday
night we did not very well understand;
but it seemed, on the whole, a good thing
that we should rest Saturday night when
we were tired, and play Sunday night when
we were rested. I supposed, however, that
it was an arrangement made to suit the
big boys who wanted to go "courting" Sun-
day night. Certainly they were not to
be blamed, for Sunday was the day when
pretty girls were most fascinating, and I
have never since seen any so lovely as those
who used to sit in the gallery and in the
singers' seats in the bare old meeting-
Sunday to the country farmer-boy was
hardly the relief that it was to the other
members of the family; for the same
chores must be done that day as on others,
and he could not divert his mind with whis-
tling, hand-springs, or sending the dog into
the river after sticks. He had to submit,
in the first place, to the restraint of shoes

and stockings. He read in the Old Testa-
ment that when Moses came to holy ground
he put off his shoes; but the boy was
obliged to put his on, upon the holy day,
not only to go to meeting, but while he sat
at home. Only the emancipated country-
boy, who is as agile on his bare feet as a
young kid, and rejoices in the pressure of
the warm soft earth, knows what a hard-
ship it is to tie on stiff shoes. The monks
who put peas in their shoes as a penance
do not suffer more than the country-boy in
his penitential Sunday shoes. I recall the
celerity with which he used to kick them off
at sundown.
Sunday morning was not an idle one for
the farmer-boy. He must rise tolerably
early, for the cows were to be milked and
driven to pasture; family prayers were a
little longer than on other days; there were
the Sunday-school verses to be re-learned,
for they did not stay in mind over night;
perhaps the wagon was to be greased before
the neighbors began to drive by; and the
horse was to be caught out of the pasture,
ridden home bareback, and harnessed.

., J



This catching the horse, perhaps two of
them, was very good fun usually, and would
have broken the Sunday if the horse had
not been wanted for taking the family to
meeting. It was so peaceful and still in the
pasture on Sunday morning; but the horses
were never so playful, the colts never so
frisky. Round and round the lot the boy
went, calling, in an entreating Sunday
voice, "Jock, jock, jock, jock," and shaking
his salt-dish, while the horses, with heads
erect, and shaking tails and flashing heels,
dashed from corner to corner, and gave the
boy a pretty good race before he could coax
the nose of one of them into his dish. The
boy got angry, and came very near saying
"dum it," but he rather enjoyed the fun,
after all.
The boy remembers how his mother's
anxiety was divided between the set of his
turn-over collar, the parting of his hair, and
his memory of the Sunday-school verses;
and what a wild confusion there was
through the house in getting off for meet-
ing, and how he was kept running hither
and thither, to get the hymn-book, or a

palm-leaf fan, or the best whip, or to pick
from the Sunday part of the garden the
bunch of caraway seed. Already the dea-
con's mare, with a wagon load of the dea-
con's folks, had gone shambling past, head
and tail drooping, clumsy hoofs kicking up
clouds of dust, while the good deacon sat
jerking the reins in an automatic way, and
the "women-folks" patiently saw the dust
settle upon their best summer finery.
Wagon after wagon went along the sandy
road, and when our boy's family started,
they became part of a long procession,
which sent up a mile of dust and a pun-
gent if not pious smell of buffalo-robes.
There were fiery horses in the train which
had to be held in, for it was neither eti-
quette nor decent to pass anybody on Sun-
day. It was a great delight to the farmer-
boy to see all this procession of horses, and
to exchange sly winks with the other boys,
who leaned over the wagon-seats for that
purpose. Occasionally a boy rode behind,
with his back to the family, and his panto-
mimewas always something wonderfulto see,
and was considered very daring and wicked.

The meeting-house which our boy re-
members was a high, square building, with-
out a steeple. Within, it had a lofty pul-
pit, with doors underneath and closets
where sacred things were kept, and where
the tithing-men were supposed to imprison
bad boys. The pews were square, with
seats facing each other, those on one side
low for the children, and all with hinges, so
that they could be raised when the congre-
gation stood up for prayers and leaned over
the backs of the pews, as horses meet each
other across a pasture fence. After prayers
these seats used to be slammed down with
a long-continued clatter, which seemed to
the boys about the best part of the exer-
cises. The galleries were very high, and
the singers' seats, where the pretty girls
sat, were the most conspicuous of all. To
sit in the gallery, away from the family, was
a privilege not often granted to the boy.
The tithing-man, who carried a long rod
and kept order in the house, and outdoors
at noontime, sat in the gallery, and visited
any boy who whispered or found curious
passages in the Bible and showed them

to another boy. It was an awful moment
when the bushy-headed tithing-man ap-
proached a boy in sermon-time. The eyes
of the whole congregation were on him,
and he could feel the guilt ooze out of his
burning face."
At noon was Sunday-school, and after
that, before the afternoon service, in sum-
mer, the boys had a little time to eat their
luncheon together at the watering-trough,
where some of the elders were likely to be
gathered, talking very solemnly about cattle;
or they went over to a neighboring barn
to see the calves; or they slipped off down
the roadside to a place where they could
dig sassafras or the root of the sweet flag,
- roots very fragrant in the mind of many
a boy with religious associations to this day.
There was often an odor of sassafras in the
afternoon service. It used to stand in my
mind as a substitute for the Old Testament
incense of the Jews. Something in the
same way the big bass- viol in the choir
took the place of "David's harp of solemn
The going home from meeting was more




cheerful and lively than the coming to it.
There was all the bustle of getting the
horses out of the sheds and bringing them
round to the meeting-house steps. At noon
the boys sometimes sat in the wagons and
swung the whips without cracking them:
now it was permitted to give them a little
snap in order to bring the horses up in good
style; and the boy was rather proud of the
horse if it pranced a little while the timid
"women-folks were trying to get in. The
boy had an eye for whatever life and stir
there was in a New England Sunday. He
liked to drive home fast. The old house
and the farm looked pleasant to him.
There was an extra dinner when they
reached home, and a cheerful conscious-
ness of duty performed made it a pleasant
dinner. Long before sundown the Sunday-
school book had been read, and the boy sat
waiting in the house with great impatience
the signal that the "day of rest" was over.
A boy may not be very wicked, and yet not
see the need of "rest." Neither his idea of
rest nor work is that of older farmers.


IF there is one thing more than another
that hardens the lot of the farmer-boy it
is the grindstone. Turning grindstones to
grind scythes is one of those heroic but un-
obtrusive occupations for which one gets no
credit. It is a hopeless kind of task, and,
however faithfully the crank is turned, it is
one that brings little reputation. There is a
great deal of poetry about haying I mean
for those not engaged in it. One likes to
hear the whetting of the scythes on a fresh
morning and the response of the noisy
bobolink, who always sits upon the fence
and superintends the cutting of the dew-
laden grass. There is a sort of music in
the "swish" and a rhythm in the swing of
the scythes in concert. The boy has not
much time to attend to it, for it is lively
business "spreading" after half a dozen

men who have only to walk along and lay
the grass low, while the boy has the whole
hayfield on his hands. He has little time
for the poetry of haying, as he struggles
along, filling the air with the wet mass
which he shakes over his head, and picking
his way with short legs and bare feet amid
the short and freshly cut stubble.
But if the scythes cut well and swing
merrily it is due to the boy who turned the
grindstone. Oh, it was nothing to do, just
turn the grindstone a few minutes for this
and that one before breakfast; any "hired
man" was authorized to order the boy to
turn the grindstone. How they did bear on,
those great strapping fellows! Turn, turn,
turn, what a weary go it was. For my
part, I used to like a grindstone that "wab-
bled" a good deal on its axis, for when I
turned it fast, it put the grinder on a lively
lookout for cutting his hands, and entirely
satisfied his desire that I should "turn
faster." It was some sport to make the water
fly and wet the grinder, suddenly starting
up quickly and surprising him when I was
turning very slowly. I used to wish some-

times that I could turn fast enough to make
the stone fly into a dozen pieces. Steady
turning is what the grinders like, and any
boy who turns steadily, so as to give an
even motion to the stone, will be much
praised, and will be in demand. I advise
any boy who desires to do this sort of work
to turn steadily. If he does it by jerks and
in a fitful manner, the "hired men" will be
very apt to dispense with his services and
turn the grindstone for each other.
This is one of the most disagreeable tasks
of the boy farmer, and, hard as it is, I do
not know why it is supposed to belong es-
pecially to childhood. But it is, and one
of the certain marks that second childhood
has come to a man on a farm is that he is
asked to turn the grindstone as if he were
a boy again. When the old man is good for
nothing else, when he can neither mow nor
pitch, and scarcely "rake after," he can
turn grindstone, and it is in this way that
he renews his youth. "Ain't you ashamed
to have your granther turn the grind-
stone ?" asks the hired man of the boy. So
the boy takes hold and turns himself, till

his little back aches. When he gets older
he wishes he had replied, "Ain't you
ashamed to make either an old man or a
little boy do such hard grinding work ?"
Doing the regular work of this world is
not much, the boy thinks, but the wearisome
part is the waiting on the people who do
the vxork. And the boy is not far wrong.
This is what women and boys have to do
on a farm, -wait upon everybody who
"works." The trouble with the boy's life
is that he has no time that he can call his
own. He is, like a barrel of beer, always on
draught. The men-folks, having worked in
the regular hours, lie down and rest, stretch
themselves idly in the shade at noon, or
lounge about after supper. Then the boy,
who has done nothing all day but turn
grindstone, and spread hay, and rake after,
and run his little legs off at everybody's
beck and call, is sent on some errand or
some household chore, in order that time
shall not hang heavy on his hands. The
boy comes nearer to perpetual motion than
anything else in nature, only it is not alto-
gether a voluntary motion. The time that

the farm-boy gets for his own is usually at
the end of a stent. We used to be given
a certain piece of corn to hoe, or a certain
quantity of corn to husk in so many days.
If we finished the task before the time set,
we had the remainder to ourselves. In my
day it used to take very sharp work to gain
anything, but we were always anxious to
take the chance. I think we enjoyed the
holiday in anticipation quite as much as we
did when we had won it. Unless it was
training-day, or Fourth of July, or the cir-
cus was coming, it was a little difficult to
find anything big enough to fill our antici-
pations of the fun we would have in the
day or the two or three days we had earned.
We did not want to waste the time on any
common thing. Even going fishing in one
of the wild mountain brooks was hardly up
to the mark, for we could sometimes do
that on a rainy day. Going down to the
village store was not very exciting, and
was on the whole a waste of our precious
time. Unless we could get out our mili-
tary company, life was apt to be a little
blank, even on the holidays for which we

had worked so hard. If you went to see
another boy, he was probably at work in
the hayfield or the potato-patch, and his
father looked at you askance. You some-
times took hold and helped him, so that
he could go and play with you; but it was
usually time to go for the cows before the
task was done. There has been a change,
but the amusements of a boy in the coun-
try were few then. Snaring "suckers out
of the deep meadow brook used to be about
as good as any that I had. The North
American sucker is not an engaging animal
in all respects; his body is comely enough,
but his mouth is puckered up like that of a
purse. The mouth is not formed for the
gentle angle-worm nor the delusive fly of
the fishermen. It is necessary therefore to
snare the fish if you want him. In the
sunny days he lies in the deep pools, by
some big stone or near the bank, poising
himself quite still, or only stirring his fins
a little now and then, as an elephant moves
his ears. He will lie so for hours, -or
rather float,- in perfect idleness and ap-
parent bliss.

The boy who also has a holiday, but can-
not keep still, comes along and peeps over
the bank. "Golly, ain't he a big one !" Per-
haps he is eighteen inches long, and weighs
two or three pounds. He lies there among
his friends, little fish and big ones, quite a
school of them, perhaps a district school,
that only keeps in warm days in the summer.
The pupils seem to have little to learn, ex-
cept to balance themselves and to turn
gracefully with a flirt of the tail. Not much
is taught but "deportment," and some of
the old suckers are perfect Turveydrops in
that. The boy is armed with a pole and a
stout line, and on the end of it a brass wire
bent into a hoop, which is a slipnoose, and
slides together when anything is caught in
it. The boy approaches the bank and looks
over. There he lies, calm as a whale.
The boy devours him with his eyes. He is
almost too much excited to drop the snare
into the water without making a noise. A
puff of wind comes and ruffles the surface,
so that he cannot see the fish. It is calm
again, and there he still is, moving his fins
in peaceful security. The boy lowers his


snare behind the fish and slips it along.
He intends to get it around him just back
of the gills and then elevate him with a
sudden jerk. It is a delicate operation,
for the snare will turn a little, and if it
hits the fish he is off. However, it goes
well, the wire is almost in place, when sud-
denly the fish, as if he had a warning in a
dream, for he appears to see nothing, moves
his tail just a little, glides out of the loop,
and, with no seeming appearance of frus-
trating any one's plans, lounges over to the
other side of the pool; and there he re-
poses just as if he was not spoiling the
boy's holiday.
This slight change of base on the part of
the fish requires the boy to reorganize his
whole campaign, get a new position on the
bank, a new line of approach, and patiently
wait for the wind and sun before he can
lower his line. This time, cunning and pa-
tience are rewarded. The hoop encircles
the unsuspecting fish. The boy's eyes
almost start from his head as he gives a tre-
mendous jerk, and feels by the dead-weight
that he has got him fast. Out he comes,

up he goes in the air, and the boy runs to
look at him. In this transaction, however,
no one can be more surprised than the



THE boy farmer does not appreciate
school vacations as highly as his city cousin.
When school keeps he has only to "do
chores and go to school," but between
terms there are a thousand things on the
farm that have been left for the boy to do.
Picking up stones in the pastures and piling
them in heaps used to be one of them.
Some lots appeared to grow stones, or else
the sun every year drew them to the sur-
face, as it coaxes the round cantelopes out
of the soft garden soil; it is certain that
there were fields that always gave the boys
this sort of fall work. And very lively
work it was on frosty mornings for the
barefooted boys, who were continually turn-
ing up the larger stones in order to stand
for a moment in the warm place that had
been covered from the frost. A boy can

stand on one leg as well as a Holland stork;
and the boy who found a warm spot for the
sole of his foot was likely to stand in it
until the words, "Come, stir your stumps,"
broke in discordantly upon his meditations.
For the boy is very much given to medita-
tions. If he had his way he would do no-
thing in a hurry; he likes to stop and think
about things, and enjoy his work as he goes
along. He picks up potatoes as if each one
was a lump of gold just turned out of the
dirt, and requiring careful examination.
Although the country boy feels a little
joy when school breaks up (as he does
when anything breaks up, or any change
takes place), since he is released from the
discipline and restraint of it, yet the school
is his opening into the world, -his ro-
mance. Its opportunities for enjoyment are
numberless. He does not exactly know
what he is set at books for; he takes spell-
ing rather as an exercise for his lungs,
standing up and shouting out the words
with entire recklessness of consequences;
he grapples doggedly with arithmetic and
geography as something that must be


cleared out of his way before recess, but
not at all with the zest he would dig a
woodchuck out of his hole. But recess!
Was ever any enjoyment so keen as that
with which a boy rushes out of the school-
house door for the ten minutes of recess ?
He is like to burst with animal spirits; he
runs like a deer; he can nearly fly; and
he throws himself,into play with entire self-
forgetfulness, and an energy that would
overturn the world if his strength were pro-
portioned to it. For ten minutes the world
is absolutely his; the weights are taken
off, restraints are loosed, and he is his own
master for that brief time,- as he never
again will be if he lives to be as old as the
king of Thule, and nobody knows how old
he was. And there is the nooning, a solid
hour, in which vast projects can be carried
out which have been slyly matured during
the school-hours; expeditions are under-
taken, wars are begun between the Indians
on one side and the settlers on the other,
the military company is drilled (without
uniforms or arms), or games are carried on
which involve miles of running, and an

expenditure of wind sufficient to spell the
spelling-book through at the highest pitch.
Friendships are formed, too, which are
fervent if not enduring, and enmities con-
tracted which are frequently "taken out"
on the spot, after a rough fashion boys
have of settling as they go along; cases of
long credit, either in words or trade, are
not frequent with boys; boot on jack-knives
must be paid on the nail; and it is consid-
ered much more honorable to out with a
personal grievance at once, even if the ex-
planation is made with the fists, than to
pretend fair, and then take a sneaking re-
venge on some concealed opportunity. The
country boy at the district school is intro-
duced into a wider world than he knew at
home, in many ways. Some big boy brings
to school a copy of the Arabian Nights, a
dog-eared copy, with cover, title-page, and
the last leaves missing, which is passed
around, and slyly read under the desk, and
perhaps comes to the little boy whose par-
ents disapprove of novel-reading, and have
no work of fiction in the house except a
pious fraud called "Six Months in a Con-


vent," and the latest comic almanac. The
boy's eyes dilate as he steals some of the
treasures out of the wondrous pages, and
he longs to lose himself in the land of
enchantment open before him. He tells
at home that he has seen the most wonder-
ful book that ever was, and a big boy has
promised to lend it to him. Is it a true
book, John ?" asks the grandmother; "be-
cause if it is n't true, it is the worst thing
that a boy can read." (This happened
years ago.) John cannot answer as to the
truth of the book, and so does not bring it
home; but he borrows it, nevertheless, and
conceals it in the barn, and lying in the
hay-mow is lost in its enchantments many
an odd hour when he is supposed to be
doing chores. There were no chores in
the Arabian Nights; the boy there had but
to rub the ring and summon a genius, who
would feed the calves and pick up chips
and bring in wood in a minute. It was
through this emblazoned portal that the
boy walked into the world of books, which
he soon found was larger than his own, and
filled with people he longed to know.

And the farmer-boy is not without his
sentiment and his secrets, though he has
never been at a children's party in his life,
and, in fact, never has heard that children
go into society when they are seven, and
give regular wine-parties when they reach
the ripe age of nine. But one of his re-
grets at having the summer school close is
dimly connected with a little girl, whom he
does not care much for, -would a great
deal rather play with a boy than with her at
recess, but whom he will not see again
Sfor some time, a sweet little thing, who
is very friendly with John, and with whom
he has been known to exchange bits of
candy wrapped up in paper, and for whom
he cut in two his lead-pencil, and gave her
half. At the last day of school she goes
part way with John, and then he turns and
goes a longer distance towards her home,
so that it is late when he reaches his own.
Is he late? He didn't know he was late,
he came straight home when school was
dismissed, only going a little way home with
Alice Linton to help her carry her books.
In a box in his chamber, which he has lately

put a padlock on, among fish-hooks and
lines and bait-boxes, odd pieces of brass,
twine, early sweet apples, popcorn, beech-
nuts, and other articles of value, are some
little billets-doux, fancifully folded, three-
cornered or otherwise, and written, I will
warrant, in red or beautifully blue ink.
These little notes are parting gifts at the
close of school, and John, no doubt, gave
his own in exchange for them, though the
writing was an immense labor, and the fold-
ing was a secret bought of another boy
for a big piece of sweet flag-root baked in
sugar, a delicacy which John used to carry
in his pantaloons pocket until his pocket
was in such a state that putting his fingers
into them was about as good as dipping
them into the sugar-bowl at home. Each
precious note contained a lock or curl of
girl's hair, a rare collection of all colors,
after John had been in school many terms,
and had passed through a great many part-
ing scenes, black, brown, red, tow-color,
and some that looked like spun gold and
felt like silk. The sentiment contained in
the notes was that which was common in

the school, and expressed a melancholy
foreboding of early death, and a touching
desire to leave hair enough this side the
grave to constitute a sort of strand of
remembrance. With little variation, the
poetry that made the hair precious was in
the words, and, as a Cockney would say,
set to the hair, following : -
"This lock of hair,
Which I did wear,
Was taken from my head;
When this you see,
Remember me,
Long after I am dead."

John liked to read these verses, which
always made a new and fresh impression
with each lock of hair, and he was not
critical; they were for him vehicles of true
sentiment, and indeed they were what he
used when he inclosed a clip of his own
sandy hair to a friend. And it did not
occur to him until he was a great deal
older and less innocent to smile at them.
John felt that he would sacredly keep every
lock of hair intrusted to him, though death
should come on the wings of cholera and

take away every one of these sad, red-ink
correspondents. When John's big brother
one day caught sight of these treasures,
and brutally told him that he "had hair
enough to stuff a horse-collar," John was
so outraged and shocked, as he should have
been, at this rude invasion of his heart, this
coarse suggestion, this profanation of his
most delicate feeling, that he was only kept
from crying by the resolution to "lick"
his brother as soon as ever he got big



ONE of the best things in farming is
gathering the chestnuts, hickory-nuts, but-
ternuts, and even beech-nuts, in the late
fall, after the frosts have cracked the husks
and the high winds have shaken them, and
the colored leaves have strewn the ground.
On a bright October day, when the air is
full of golden sunshine, there is nothing
quite so exhilarating as going nutting. Nor
is the pleasure of it altogether destroyed
for the boy by the consideration that he is
making himself useful in obtaining supplies
for the winter household. The getting-in
of potatoes and corn is a different thing;
that is the prose, but nutting is the poetry,
of farm life. I am not sure but the boy
would find it very irksome, though, if he
were obliged to work at nut-gathering in
order to procure food for the family. He is

willing to make himself useful in his own
way. The Italian boy, who works day after
day at a huge pile of pine-cones, pounding
and cracking them and taking out the long
seeds, which are sold and eaten as we eat
nuts (and which are almost as good as
pumpkin-seeds, another favorite with the
Italians), probably does not see the fun of
nutting. Indeed, if the farmer-boy here
were set at pounding off the walnut-shucks
and opening the prickly chestnut-burs as
a task, he would think himself an ill-used
boy. What a hardship the prickles in his
fingers would be! But now he digs them
out with his jack-knife, and he enjoys the
process, on the whole. The boy is willing
to do any amount of work if it is called
In nutting, the squirrel is not more nim-
ble and industrious than the boy. I like to
see a crowd of boys swarm over a chestnut-
grove; they leave a desert behind them
like the seventeen-years locusts. To climb
a tree and shake it, to club it, to strip it of
its fruit and pass to the next, is the sport of
a brief time. I have seen a legion of boys

scamper over our grassplot under the chest-
nut-trees, each one as active as if he were a
new patent picking-machine, sweeping the
ground clean of nuts, and disappear over
the hill before I could go to the door and
speak to them about it. Indeed, I have
noticed that boys don't care much for con-
versation with the owners of fruit-trees.
They could speedily make their fortunes if
they would work as rapidly in cotton-fields.
I have never seen anything like it except a
flock of turkeys removing the grasshoppers
from a piece of pasture.
Perhaps it is not generally known that we
get the idea of some of our best military
manoeuvres from the turkey. The deploy-
ing of the skirmish-line in advance of an
army is one of them. The drum-major of
our holiday militia companies is copied ex-
actly from the turkey gobbler; he has the
same splendid appearance, the same proud
step, and the same martial aspect. The
gobbler does not lead his forces in the field,
but goes behind them, like the colonel of a
regiment, so that he can see every part of
the line and direct its movements. This


resemblance is one of the most singular
things in natural history. I like to watch
the gobbler manceuvring his forces in a
grasshopper-field. He throws out his com-
pany of two dozen turkeys in a crescent-
shaped skirmish-line, the number disposed
at equal distances, while he walks majesti-
cally in the rear. They advance rapidly,
picking right and left, with military pre-
cision, killing the foe and disposing of the
dead bodies with the same peck. Nobody
has yet discovered how many grasshoppers
a turkey will hold; but he is very much
like a boy at a Thanksgiving dinner, he
keeps on eating as long as the supplies
The gobbler, in one of these raids, does
not condescend to grab a single grasshop-
per, at least, not while anybody is watch-
ing him. But I suppose he makes up for it
when his dignity cannot be injured by hav-
ing spectators of his voracity; perhaps he
falls upon the grasshoppers when they are
driven into a corner of the field. But he is
only fattening himself for destruction; like
all greedy persons, he comes to a bad end.

And if the turkeys had any Sunday-school,
they would be taught this.
The New England boy used to look for-
ward to Thanksgiving as the great event of
the year. He was apt to get stents set him,
-so much corn to husk, for instance, be-
fore that day, so that he could have an ex-
tra play-spell; and in order to gain a day
or two, he would work at his task with
the rapidity of half a dozen boys. He had
the day after Thanksgiving always as a holi-
day, and this was the day he counted on.
Thanksgiving itself was rather an awful fes-
tival, very much like Sunday, except for
the enormous dinner, which filled his imagi-
nation for months before as completely as
it.did his stomach for that day and a week
after. There was an impression in the
house that that dinner was the most impor-
tant event since the landing from the May-
flower. Heliogabalus, who did not resem-
ble a Pilgrim Father at all, but who had
prepared for himself in his day some very
sumptuous banquets in Rome, and ate a
great deal of the best he could get (and
liked peacocks stuffed with asafoetida, for

one thing), never had anything like a
Thanksgiving dinner; for do you suppose
that he, or Sardanapalus either, ever had
twenty-four different kinds of pie at one
dinner? Therein many a New England boy
is greater than the Roman emperor or the
Assyrian king, and these were among the
most luxurious eaters of their day and gen-
eration. But something more is necessary
to make good men than plenty to -eat, as
Heliogabalus no doubt found when his head
was cut off. Cutting off the head was a
mode the people had of expressing disap-
proval of their conspicuous men. Nowadays
they elect them to a higher office, or give
them a mission to some foreign country, if
they do not do well where they are.
For days and days before Thanksgiving
the boy was kept at work evenings, pound-
ing and paring and cutting up and mixing
(not being allowed to taste much), until the
world seemed to him to be made of fra-
grant spices, green fruit, raisins, and pastry,
- a world that he was only yet allowed to
enjoy through his nose. How filled the
house was with the most delicious smells!

The mince-pies that were made! If John
had been shut in solid walls with them
piled about him, he could n't have eaten his
way out in four weeks. There were dain-
ties enough cooked in those two weeks to
have made the entire year luscious with
good living, if they had been scattered
along in it. But people were probably all
the better for scrimping themselves a little
in order to make this a great feast. And
it was not by any means over in a day.
There were weeks deep of chicken-pie and
other pastry. The cold buttery was a cave
of Aladdin, and it took a long time to ex-
cavate all its riches.
Thanksgiving Day itself was a heavy day,
the hilarity of it being so subdued by going
to meeting, and the universal wearing of
the Sunday clothes, that the boy couldn't
see it. But if he felt little exhilaration, he
ate a great deal. The next day was the
real holiday. Then were the merry-making
parties, and perhaps the skating and sleigh-
rides, for the freezing weather came before
the governor's proclamation in many parts
of New England. The night after Thanks-

giving occurred, perhaps, the first real party
that the boy had ever attended, with live
girls in it, dressed so bewitchingly. And
there he heard those philandering songs,
and played those sweet games of forfeits,
which put him quite beside himself, and
kept him awake that night till the rooster
crowed at the end of his first chicken-nap.
What a new world did that party open to
him! I think it likely that he saw there,
and probably did not dare say ten words to,
some tall, graceful girl, much older than
himself, who seemed to him like a new
order of being. He could see her face just
as plainly in the darkness of his chamber.
He wondered if she noticed how awkward
he was, and how short his trousers-legs
were. He blushed as he thought of his
rather ill-fitting shoes; and determined,
then and there, that he would n't be put off
with 'a ribbon any longer, but would have
a young man's necktie. It was somewhat
painful thinking the party over, but it was
delicious too. He did not think, probably,
that he would die for that tall, handsome
girl; he did not put it exactly in that way.

But he rather resolved to live for her, -
which might in the end amount to the
same thing. At least, he thought that no-
body would live to speak twice disrespect-
fully of her in his presence.


WHAT John said was, that he did n't care
much for pumpkin-pie; but that was after
he had eaten a whole one. It seemed to
him then that mince would be better.
The feeling of a boy towards pumpkin-pie
has never been properly considered. There
is an air of festivity about its approach in
the fall. The boy is willing to help pare
and cut up the pumpkin, and he watches
with the greatest interest the stirring-up
process and the pouring into the scalloped
crust. When the sweet savor of the bak-
ing reaches his nostrils, he is filled with the
most delightful anticipations. Why should
he not be? He knows that for months to
come the buttery will contain golden treas-
ures, and that it will require only a slight
ingenuity to get at them.
The fact is, that the boy is as good in

the buttery as in any part of farming. His
elders say that the boy is always hungry;
but that is a very coarse way to put it. He
has only recently come into a world that is
full of good things to eat, and there is on
the whole a very short time in which to eat
them; at least he is told, among the first
information he receives, that life is short.
Life being brief, and pie and the like fleet-
ing, he very soon decides upon an active
campaign. It may be an old story to peo-
ple who have been eating for forty or fifty
years, but it is different with a beginner.
He takes the thick and thin as it comes, as
to pie, for instance. Some people do make
them very thin. I knew a place .where
they were not thicker than the poor man's
plaster; they were spread so thin upon the
crust that they were better fitted to draw
out hunger than to satisfy it. They used
to be made up by the great oven-full and
kept in the dry cellar, where they hardened
and dried to a toughness you would hardly
believe. This was a long time ago, and
they make the pumpkin-pie in the country
better now, or the race of boys would have

been so discouraged that I think they would
have stopped coming into the world.
The truth is, that boys have always been
so plenty that they are not half appreciated.
We have shown that a farm could not get
along without them, and yet their rights
are seldom recognized. One of the most
amusing things is their effort to acquire
personal property. The boy has the care
of the calves; they always need feeding or
shutting up or letting out; when the boy
wants to play, there are those calves to be
looked after, until he gets to hate the
name of calf. But in consideration of his
faithfulness, two of them are given to him.
There is no doubt that they are his; he has
the entire charge of them. When they get
to be steers, he spends all his holidays in
breaking them in to a yoke. He gets them
so broken in that they will run like a pair
of deer all over the farm, turning the yoke,
and kicking their heels, while he follows in
full chase, shouting the ox language till he
is red in the face. When the steers grow
up to be cattle, a drover one day comes
along and takes them away, and the boy is

told that he can have another pair of
calves; and so, with undiminished faith, he
goes back and begins over again to make
his fortune. He owns lambs and young
colts in the same way, and makes just as
much out of them.
There are ways in which the farmer-boy
can earn money, as by gathering the early
chestnuts and taking them to the Corner
store, or by finding turkeys' eggs and sell-
ing them to his mother; and another way is
to go without butter at the table, but the
money thus made is for the heathen. John
read in Dr. Livingstone that some of the
tribes in Central Africa (which is repre-
sented by a blank spot in the atlas) use
the butter to grease their hair, putting on
pounds of it at a time; and he said he had
rather eat his butter than have it put to
that use, especially as it melted away so
fast in that hot climate.
Of course it was explained to John that
the missionaries do not actually carry butter
to Africa, and that they must usually go
without it themselves there, it being almost
impossible to make it good from the milk

in the cocoanuts. And it was further
explained to him that, even if the heathen
never received his butter or the money for
it, it was an excellent thing for a boy to cul-
tivate the habit of self-denial and of benev-
olence, and if the heathen never heard of
him he would be blessed for his generosity.
This was all true.
But John said that he was tired of sup-
porting the heathen out of his butter, and
he wished the rest of the family would also
stop eating butter and save the money for
missions; and he wanted to know where
the other members of the family got their
money to send to the heathen; and his
mother said that he was about half right,
and that self-denial was just as good for
grown people as it was for little boys and
The boy is not always slow to take what
he considers his rights. Speaking of those
thin pumpkin-pies kept in the cellar cup-
board, I used to know a boy who after-
wards grew to be a selectman, and brushed
his hair straight up like General Jackson,
and went to the legislature, where he al-

ways voted against every measure that was
proposed, in the most honest manner, and
got the reputation of being the "watch-dog
of the treasury." Rats in the cellar were
nothing to be compared to this boy for de-
structiveness in pies. He used to go down,
whenever he could make an excuse, to get
apples for the family, or draw a mug of
cider for his dear old grandfather (who was
a famous story-teller about the Revolu-
tionary War, and would no doubt have been
wounded in battle if he had not been as
prudent as he was patriotic), and come up
stairs with a tallow candle in one hand and
the apples or cider in the other, looking as
innocent and as unconscious as if he had
never done anything in his life except deny
himself butter for the sake of the heathen.
And yet this boy would have buttoned
under his jacket an entire round pumpkin-
pie. And the pie was so well made and so
dry that it was not injured in the least, and
it never hurt the boy's clothes a bit more
than if it had been inside of him instead
of outside; and this boy would retire to a
secluded place and eat it with another boy,

being never suspected, because he was not
in the cellar long enough to eat a pie, and he
never appeared to have one about him. But
he did something worse than this. When
his mother saw that pie after pie departed,
she told the family that she suspected
the hired man; and the boy never said a
word, which was the meanest kind of lying.
That hired man was probably regarded with
suspicion by the family to the end of his
days, and if he had been accused of robbing
they would have believed him guilty.
I shouldn't wonder if that selectman
occasionally has remorse now about that
pie; dreams, perhaps, that it is buttoned up
under his jacket and sticking to him like a
breastplate; that it lies upon his stomach like
a round and red-hot nightmare, eating into
his vitals. Perhaps not. It is difficult to
say exactly what was the sin of stealing
that kind of pie, especially if the one who
stole it ate it. It could have been used for
the game of pitching quoits, and a pair of
them would have made very fair wheels for
the dog-cart. And yet it is probably as
wrong to steal a thin pie as a thick one;

and it made no difference because it was
easy to steal this sort. Easy stealing is no
better than easy lying, where detection of
the lie is difficult. The boy who steals his
mother's pies has no right to be surprised
when some other boy steals his watermel-
ons. Stealing is like charity in one respect,
-it is apt to begin at home.


IF I were forced to be a boy, and a boy
in the country, the best kind of boy to
be in the summer, I would be about
ten years of age. As soon as I got any
older, I would quit it. The trouble with
a boy is that just as he begins to enjoy
himself he is too old, and has to be set to
doing something else. If a country boy
were wise he would stay at just that age
when he could enjoy himself most, and
have the least expected of him in the way
of work.
Of course the perfectly good boy will
always prefer to work, and to do "chores"
for his father and errands for his mother
and sisters, rather than enjoy himself in his
own way. I never saw but one such boy.
He lived in the town of Goshen, -not the
place where the butter is made, but a much

better Goshen than that. And I never saw
him, but I heard of him; and being about
the same age, as I supposed, I was taken
once from Zoar, where I lived, to Goshen
to see him. But he was dead. He had
been dead almost a year, so that it was im-
possible to see him. He died of the most
singular disease: it was from not eating
green apples in the season of them. This
boy, whose name was Solomon, before he
died would rather split up kindling-wood
for his mother than go a-fishing: the con-
sequence was, that he was kept at splitting
kindling-wood and such work most of the
time, and grew a better and more useful
boy day by day. Solomon would not dis-
obey his parents and eat green apples, -
not even when they were ripe enough to
knock off with a stick, but he had such
a longing for them that he pined and
passed away. If he had eaten the green
apples he would have died of them, proba-
bly; so that his example is a difficult one
to follow. In fact, a boy is a hard subject
to get a moral from. All his little play-
mates who ate green apples came to Solo-


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