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help you to hoe the celery beds while you are telling me, but I can look on the while, and perhaps I may learn how to hoe them myself some day."
"We know not what a day may bring forth," replied Michael, "for we are poor perishing creatures, here to-day, and gone to-morrow; but if it please God that you should live, I hope you will know how to do many things of more consequence than hoeing a bed of celery. If you should ever be a farmer, and perhaps you will, being so fond of the country, it will be necessary to know the nature and value of land, and to have some judgment in live stock. You must know, also, how and when to plough, sow, mow, reap, and get in harvest; and your wife, if you should happen to have one, should understand how to manage the dairy. What with manuring, draining, hedging and ditching, attending to your horses, cattle, oxen, sheep, and pigs; thatching your ricks, threshing and winnowing your grain, and making the most of your hay, turnips, and clover, you will have a great deal to do, and ought, therefore, to know how to do it. I will give you an account of a farmer that I met with the other day; therefore listen. An honest farmer, who had spent all his days in the cultivation of the ground, and who might therefore be supposed to know something
about the matter, once had a book put into his hand, called 'A Guide to Good Farming.' The book was written by one who had never spent a week at a farm house in all his life; and the rules that it contained, though they sounded very well when read, could never be put in practice. The honest farmer had sense enough to see this before he had got down to the bottom of the first page. 'Ay, ay,' said he, 'the man who wrote this book can plough very well on paper, but I should like to see him holding the plough-stilts in one of my stiff clayey fields, and I warrant you he would tell a different tale. He lays down the same plan for light land and stiff land, for hill and valley, for wet weather and dry, when all these require a change in the plan. Guide to Good Farming, indeed! If I were to follow him, he would soon guide me to the workhouse. The best guide to good farming that I know of is this: Be up with the lark, hold your own plough, have an eye to the land and the weather; sow when it suits, make hay when the sun shines; see to everything yourself, keep your eyes and ears open; never despise a real improvement, and never let the grass grow under your feet in a word, be industrious yourself, and see that your servants are so too. He that does these things, and looks to God for a blessing upon
them all, will find out the secret of good farming.'"
"I should like to be a farmer very well. That is a very capital account."
"You talk of the March winds, Maurice: generally the month of March is windy, but not always; and whether it be so or not, the weather gets warmer and warmer by degrees.”
"Tell me, will you, what is the meaning of the saying, 'As wild as a March hare?" "
"If I knew it, I would tell you; but when we do not know a thing, it is always better to own it than to pretend to be wiser than we really are. In March, the hares have been shot at a great deal, and run after by the dogs, and that may make them wilder; and the wind blowing so much as it does then, may be another reason why they should be scared and become wilder than common; but, as I said, the meaning of the saying I really do not know. When I was a boy, a youngster who had never been in the country before, paid a visit at the Grange. One day, being out in the fields, he spied a hare, and set out to run after her. Puss, at first, moved off quietly enough; but seeing some one after her, she scampered along at a fine rate. What made the matter laughable was, that somebody cried out, 'Run, run!' when the youngster doubled his
speed, as if he thought he could overtake the hare. For some time he kept up the chase; but the longer he ran the farther he was behind. If you should ever pay a visit at the Grange, I hope you will never try to outrun a hare."
"That is not likely. I should be glad to see the hares; but I would not try to outrun them."
"In March, ploughing and sowing are carried on on a broad scale; and teams of horses, and some
times of oxen, may be seen in all directions. Then the farmer rolls his meadow lands, drills his
and moves his sheep and cattle from one field to another."
"I should like to see oxen at plough. I have seen horses, but have never seen oxen so employed." "In former times oxen were used to tread the grain from the corn, for it is said in Holy Scripture, C Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn,' Deut. xxv. 4. It is pleasant to walk about in the country in March, if you are a little hardy, and think but lightly of a cold blast of wind. The sharp fresh air makes the blood spin through your veins, and you feel fit to undertake any thing. As you walk in the fields your spirit rises, and as you pass along the hollow lanes with a cheerful heart, you are made happier by the singing of the birds-by the jingling of the traces belonging to the horses at plough-by the crack of the whip, and the lusty call of the ploughboy who one minute cries out, Smiler! Dobbin! Whitefoot! and the next whistles a merry tune. You smell the upturned furrows wholesome and pleasant; you hear the rooks cawing, as they skim along with the wind far above you; you see a blackbird or a magpie as he hastily flutters into the hedge, scared at your approach; and you catch sight of the white-tufted tail of a hare or rabbit, as he pops into the coppice by the lane side."
"I can fancy all these things, and they must be