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from this time," sez I, pullin' out my new sixteen dollar huntin cased watch and brandishin' it before their eyes, “Ef in five minits from this time a single sole of you remains on these here premises, I'll go out to my cage near by, and let my Boy Constructor loose! & ef he gits amung you, you'll think old Solferino has cum again and no mistake !” You ought to hev seen them scamper, Mr. Fair. They run of as tho Satun hisself was arter them with a red hot ten pronged pitchfork. In five minits the premises was clear.
“How kin I ever repay you, Mr. Ward, for your kindness ? ” sed Old Abe, advancin and shakin me warmly by the hand. “How kin I ever repay you, sir ? ”
“By givin the whole country a good, sound administration. By poerin' ile upon the troubled waturs, North and South. By pursooin' a patriotic, firm, and just course, and then if any State wants to secede, let 'em Sesesh !”
"Hoy 'bout my Cabinit, Mister Ward ? " sed Abe.
“Fill it up with Showmen, sir! Showmen, is devoid of politics. They hain't got any principles. They know how to cater for the public. They know what the public wants, North & South. Showmen, sir, is honest men. Ef you doubt their literary ability, look at their posters, and see small bills ! Ef you want a Cabinit as is a Cabinit fill it up with showmen, but don't call on me. The moral wax figger perfeshun musn't be permitted to go down while there's a drop of blood in these veins! A. Linkin, I wish you well! Ef Powers or Walcutt wus to pick out a model for a beautiful man, I scarcely think they'd sculp you; but ef you do the fair thing by your country you'll make as putty a angel as an of us! A. Linkin, use the talents which Nature has put into you judishusly and firmly, and all will be well! A. Linkin, adoo !”
He shook me cordyully by the hand-we exchanged picters, so we could gaze upon each others' liniments, when far away from one another-he at the hellum of the ship of State, and I at the hellum of the show bizniss-admittance only 15 cents.
The Barclay County Agricultural Society having seriously invited the author of this volume to address them on the occasion of their next annual Fair, he wrote the President of that Society as follows:
New York, June 12, 1865. DEAR SIR:
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 5th inst., in which you invite me to deliver an address before your excellent agricultural society.
I feel flattered, and think I will come.
Perhaps, meanwhile, a brief history of my experience as an agriculturist will be acceptable; and as that history no doubt contains suggestions of value to the entire agricultural community, I have concluded to write to you through the Press.
I have been an honest old farmer for some four years.
My farm is in the interior of Maine. Unfortunately my lands are eleven miles from the railroad. Eleven miles is quite a distance to haul immense quantities of wheat, corn, rye, and oats; but as I hav'n't any to haul, I do not, after all, suffer much on that account.
My farm is more especially a grass farm.
My neighbors told me so at first, and as an evidence that they were sincere in that opinion, they
turned their cows on to it the moment I went off “ lecturing.”
These cows are now quite fat. I take pride in these cows, in fact, and am glad I own a grass farm.
Two years ago I tried sheep-raising.
I bought fifty lambs, and turned them loose on my broad and beautiful acres.
It was pleasant on bright mornings to stroll leisurely out on to the farm in my dressing-gown, with a cigar in my mouth, and watch those innocent little lambs as they danced gaily o'er the hillside. Watching their saucy capers reminded me of caper sauce, and it occurred to me I should have some very fine eating when they grow up to be “muttons.”
My gentle shepherd, Mr. Eli Perkins, said, “We must have some shepherd dogs.”
I had no very precise idea as to what shepherd dogs were, but I assumed a rather profound look, and said:
“We must, Eli. I spoke to you about this some time ago !”
I wrote to my old friend, Mr. Dexter H. Follett, of Boston, for two shepherd dogs. Mr. F. is not an honest old farmer himself, but I thought he knew about shepherd dogs. He kindly forsook far more important business to accommodate, and the dogs came forthwith. They were splendid creaturessnuff-colored, hazel-eyed, long-tailed, and shapelyjawed. We led them proudly to the fields. “ Turn them in, Eli,” I said. Eli turned them in.
They went in at once, and killed twenty of my best lambs in about four minutes and a half.
My friend had made a trifling mistake in the breed of these dogs.
These dogs were not partial to sheep.
“Waal! did you ever ?”. I certainly never had.
There were pools of blood on the greensward, and fragments of wool and raw lamb chops lay round in confused heaps.
The dogs would have been sent to Boston that night, had they not suddenly died that afternoon of a throat-distemper. It wasn't a swelling of the throat. It wasn't diphtheria. It was a violent opening of the throat, extending from ear to ear.
Thus closed their life-stories. Thus ended their interesting tails..
I failed as a raiser of lambs. As a sheepist, I was not a success.
Last summer Mr. Perkins said, “I think we'd better cut some grass this season, sir." We cut some grass.
To me the new-mown hay is very sweet and nice. The brilliant George Arnold sings about it, in beautiful verse, down in Jersey every summer; so does the brilliant Aldrich, at Portsmouth, N. H. And yet I doubt if either of these men knows the price of a ton of hay to-day. But new-mown hay is a really fine thing. It is good for man and beast.
We hired four honest farmers to assist us, and I led them gayly to the meadows.
I was going to mow, myself.
I saw the sturdy peasants go round once ere I dipped my flashing scythe into the tall green grass.
“ Are you ready ? ” said E. Perkins.
Followed them rather too closely, evidently, for a white-haired old man, who immediately followed Mr. Perkins, called upon us to halt. Then in a low firm voice he said to his son, who was just ahead of me, “John, change places with me. I hain't got long to live, anyhow. Yonder berryin' ground will soon have these old bones, and it's no matter whether I'm carried there with one leg off and ter’ble gashes in the other or not! But you, John-you are young.” The old man changed places with his son. A smile of calm resignation lit up his wrinkled face, as he said, “Now, sir, I am ready !” “What mean you, old man ?” I said.
"I mean that 'if you continner to bran'ish that blade as you have been bran’ishin' it, you'll slash h- out of some of us before we're a hour older !”
There was some reason mingled with this whitehaired old peasant's profanity. It was true that I had twice escaped mowing off his son's legs, and his father was perhaps naturally alarmed.
I went and sat down under a tree. “I never know'd a literary man in my life," I overheard the old man say, “that know'd anything."
Mr. Perkins was not as valuable to me this season as I had fancied he might be. Every afternoon he disappeared from the field regularly, and remained about some two hours. He said it was headache. He inherited it from his mother. His mother was often taken in that way, and suffered a great deal.
At the end of the two hours Mr. Perkins would reappear with his head neatly done up in a large wet rag, and say he “ felt better.”
One afternoon it so happened that I soon followed the invalid to the house, and as I neared the porch I heard a female voice energetically observe, “ You stop !” It was the voice of the hired girl, and she added, “ I'll holler for Mr. Brown !”
“Oh no, Nancy," I heard the invalid E. Perkins soothingly say, “Mr. Brown knows I love you. Mr. Brown approves of it !”.
This was pleasant for Mr. Brown!
I peered cautiously through the kitchen-blinds, and, however unnatural it may appear, the lips of