Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

9 erthygl ar y dudalen hon



LEAVES FEOI THE DIARY OF A WORKING MAN. CHAPTER I,—BOYHOOD. My father was a small farmer, renting about seventy acres of land, which his own careful management rendered excellent and productive, and which is, situated in what I, at least, have always considered as one of the pleasantest spots of that pleasant county, Devon. I am the youngest of four sons, the eldest of whom took an unconquerable fancy for a military life, and who, if the fortune of war and the fatality of a tropical climate have spared him thus long, is at the present moment doing duty as a soldier in India. The other two have followed, like their father, the trade of a farmer, and are managing to make a living of it, and a pretty good living too, owing to steady industry, perseverance, and sobriety. We all received what, thirty or forty years ago, was considered a decent education. I went to school with my brothers at a little village not a dozen miles from Exeter. There I learned to write, read, and. cast accounts, and to find the latitude and longitude of a place on a map or a globe. I read in class the history of my own country and that of Greece and Rome, as then taught. Igot some small smattering of Latin from the Eton Grammar and the Delectus," and might have got more, but just as I was going into Selectee Profanis," I completed my thirteenth year, and had to go into the fields instead, to pull turnips for the cattle on a frosty morning, to go with my father to plough, to drive the cows to pasture and home again, and fifty things beside, all of which are described in Bloomfield's Farmer's Boy." But a farmer's boy I was determined not to be, it it was to be helped. Not that I disliked farming; every- thing connected with agriculture islinkedin my memory with so many endearing and loving associations, that I could never confess to that. The green lanes, the sunny fields, the bubbling, leaping brooks of my early childhood's home are daguerreotyped upon my heart, and there their pleasant images must remain so long as it shall continue to beat. Perhaps I love them more in remembrance than I ever did in reality. The very slope on the uplands, where the turnips grew on the first and only winter of my farming experience, has a cheerful aspect in my memory, connected though it be with recollections of frost-bitten fingers and shivering walks over the icebound clods in the dreary winter mornings, hours before the sun had risen. No! it was not because I disliked farming that I determined not to be a farmer, but simply because I liked some- thing else better. There was. a bookcase in my father s little parlour, with a secretary attached, in which were two or three score of volumes of various dates, well thumbed, but well taken care of too. Among these was the "Pilgrim's Progress," which I read as a real history, and which set ine a longing to make a progress of my own, which I calculated upon doing easier than Christian did, inasmuch as I had no burden upon my back, as I thought. Then there was the Spectator," which gave me an idea of life under circumstances which a farmer could never contemplate, but which I secretly hoped to witness.. Another volume was the History of Henry, Earl of Moreland," whom I loved with my whole soul, and whoae actuality it never occurred to me for a moment to question. But the book that was fatal to my notion of farming, if I ever had any, was the "Book of Trades. This volume, a small duodecimo, I surreptitiously filched from the shelf, and concealed beneath the lining of my jacket, and conned it well at my leisure. It was full of pictures, showing the different craftsmen at 11 their work, and the one that laid the strongest hold upon my fancy was a view of the inside of a carpenter a shop, in which were three figures; one was sawing away at a plank, another was planing a board, while the third was driving nails. As I had always a great inclination (and have to this hour) to be making some- thing, the sight of this picture, and the description of a carpenter's shop accompanying it, set me a longing for tools, and I began to collect carefully all that the establishment could boast in that line. Two old saws, an old jack plane, a smaller one, that had lost its edge and acquired a set of teeth, a hammer head without a handle, a few chisels in nearly as bad a condition, and a rusty leaky glue-pot, were all that rewarded my rummaging, and I looked upon them with unspeakable satisfaction. My first job was to fashion a handle for the hammer, and this was speedily accomplished, by the aid of my pocket-knife, from some old boards, which had lain for years in the hay-loft. I next managed to make a snug box for the I tools, whieh I now took under my own special protection; and, as far as oiling, polishing from rust, and sharpening on a piece of paving st@ne would do it. restored to working condition. They were my first thought of a morning and my last care at night, nor could I rest in my bed if one of them was absent from the box. My mother, who was a model for mothers and wives, encouraged me in this carefulness, and took a pleasure in directing my mechanical tendencies to purposes of usefulness. At her sugges- tion I made sundry milking-stools, hen-coops, and a water-trough, and repaired the manger, which old Double had a knack of biting to shreds for his arlmse- inent. My father, who was a man of very few words, made but little remarks upon my carpentering. He showed, however, that he was not averse from my pursuits by purchasing & paper of brads, together with gimlets and bradawls, and consigning them to my custody, just as I happened to want them. The result was a new salt-box the very next day, which I sat up late and rose early to finish, and hung on a nail by his elbow when he came into the kitchen to dinner. He de- clared it well made, as well as need be, and that 1. had made good use of the brads; said I was a good boy, and that I should drive my mother to market next Saturday. This requited me more than if he had Promised me a guinea, and there was not a happier lad in Devon than I was that day. My elder brother who had hitherto been my mother's companion on these occasions, said he could trust me with Double, and gave me full directions what to do in Exeter, and how to pass my time during the day when mother could la the early spring morning, while the stars were yet glimmering, we were all up and doing, loading the market cart and preparing for .tbe journey. Eggs butter, clotted cream, bacon, and poultry, witn certain garden seeds which my father was famous for raising, constituted our loading; and having first tekffii hearty breakfast by candlelight, we set off full two hours before sunrise for the county town. Though old Double, wbo would be put put of his pace for nobody, responded very ill to my impatience, ambling alonff at four miles an hour, we were yet beyond that part of the neighbourhood with which I was familiar before it was light, and when the sun rose, it was upon objects that I bad never seen before, and which filled me with inexpressible delight. i « Far in the distance I could see the good city of Exeter perched upon its noble site, the grey towers of the cathedral rising like transparent pillars towards hfiavpn We got into market m good time; and, after giving the horse a feed of corn, and helping my Sfr toStaplW her m«ch»di»e, I master, till fo.ur o'clock, to see the town- My savings amounted to something more than half-a-crown, and these I laid out at a. second-hand tool shop, which tempted me, in a bye street, into the purohase of near a dozen useful articles, whose use I comprehended at first sieht I got a piece of good whetstone into the Sain and fancied myself well stocked with imple- ments, 'and ready to make anything that might be WTn0thetco°u?see ef my rambles through the town, I came at length upon what was the object of my search, a SrpenS? shop, with the^carpenter and his son at work. I stood and watched them for a full hour; and, attracting the notice of the man, who asked me if I should like to be a carpenter, was invited to walk in and see as much I chose! The opportunity was not lost upon me, inasmuch as I learned to dovetan the sides of a box together, and resolved to try it the first thing when I got back. The father went home to dinner at one o'clock but the lad remain^ behind and ate his dinner m the workshop, and I running back to my mother and fetching mine, did the same. Mv new companion answered all my questions readily, and told me I might bring my tools and grind them there • he would turn for me. Before left, Mr. C— the father, said he should be pleased,to see me at any time when I came to town, an lllvltahønofwhich I did not fai to avail myself weekly for some months. ^returned home in the evening with my mother m high spirits, proud of my new tools and new friends. Mv father seeing by this time the bent of my mclma- ti4 tked me oneway if I should like to go appren- Mr C Now, there was something m this ■AZ findly.. **4 unwilling to be entirely subjected to mat, and that, too, at a distance from home; so I told my father I would consider of it. The secret cause of my hesitation, no doubt, was, that an old schoolfellow of mine, the son of Stevie Dixon, whose farm was next to ours, and with whom I had held frequent conferences of late, was, like myself, determined against farming, and was going apprentice to his uncle Whiting, a cabinet maker, of Tiverton, a pretty market town, six or seven miles oft. JNow Davio Dixon and I had been friends before we could talk; all we had and all we knew were in common, and neither of us at all relished the idea of parting for seven long years. From him I had learned that a cabinet maker ranked higher than a carpenter, and earned more money. Though this was not, quite 110 true as we thought it, it had a great effect upon me, and the sight of an elegant teacaddy, made by old Whiting, and sent as a present to Davie's mother, completed my dissatisfaction with the notion of being a mere carpenter. So I told father one night that I did not want to go to Exeter, but that I did wish very much to be apprenticed along with Davie to his uncle at Tiverton. But suppose he should refuse to take you; perhaps he does not want two apprentices," said my father. I don't know," I said, but Davie don't want to go without me, and next Sunday, when his uncle comes over, he is to bring him here and then, if you please, I'll ask him myself. When the Sunday came, Davie brought his uncle over the fields to take a cup of tea with my parents. I was too mil of my purpose to let him rest long before I put the question, whether he would take me appren- tice along with his nephew. The old gentleman laughed at my eagerness, talked about the delights of farming, and the miseries of a tradesman s life, but aonsented after all, that if I liked the business after a month's trial, I should be bound to him for seven years, if my parents had no objection. I could see that they were fully pleased, my mother especially, that I should follow my own inclination in the choice of a trade; but as they did not consider Sunday a proper time for business engagements, the preliminaries were post- poned till next morning, and we all went to church together that evening, Davie and I as merry as grigs, and leaping the stiles in our way as if there had been no such thing as care in the world. Before the next Saturday came, everything was arranged and settled for my month's trial. I packed my. clothes and tools, and early on a June morning set out with my mother, brother, and Davie, in the cart that was to take her to Exeter. When we arrived at the main road, we alighted at a little inn near C-, where we boys and our boxes were to wait for the carrier's cart to take us to Tiverton. Ours was a merry parting; we threw up our hats and hallowed after the cart so long as it was in sight, and then sat down on our boxes to await the coming of the carrier. He made his appearance in due time, and half an hour before eleven o'clock set us down at old Whiting s door, in -—street, Tiverton. The old gentleman's orphan niece, Sally Whiting, was on the look out for us at the door, and clapped her hands, and called out to the old man directly the cart stopped. The child, who was about eleven years old, was delighted beyond measure, and our new master, too, was kindandhospi- table. We had an early dinner, and then, with Sally for our guide, set out to see the town and environs. A long and pleasant walk we took on the banks of the Exe as far as the weirs, and came back home over the bridge, and up Angel-hill. (To be continued.)



Money Market

The Corn Trade


Cattle Market.':

The Produce Market.

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