Afoot In England, By W.H. Hudson

 -   For in due time the farm boy, however fine his spirit
may be, must harden and grow patient and stolid - Page 280
Afoot In England, By W.H. Hudson - Page 280 of 298 - First - Home

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For In Due Time The Farm Boy, However Fine His Spirit May Be, Must Harden And Grow Patient And Stolid In Heat And Cold And Wet, Like The Horse That Draws The Plough Or Cart; And As He Hardens He Grows Callous.

In his wretched London garret if any change came to him it was only to an increased love and pity for the beasts he had lived among, who looked and cried to him to be fed.

He describes it well, the frost and bitter cold, the hungry cattle following the cart to the fields, the load of turnips thrown out on the hard frozen ground; but the turnips too are frozen hard and they cannot eat them until Giles, following with his beetle, splits them up with vigorous blows, and the cows gather close round him, sending out a cloud of steam from their nostrils.

The dim short winter day soon ends, but the sound of the flails continues in the barns till long after dark before the weary labourers end their task and trudge home. Giles, too, is busy at this time taking hay to the housed cattle, many a sweet mouthful being snatched from the load as he staggers beneath it on his way to the racks. Then follow the well-earned hours of "warmth and rest" by the fire in the big old kitchen which he describes: -

For the rude architect, unknown to fame, (Nor symmetry nor elegance his aim), Who spread his floors of solid oak on high, On beams rough-hewn from age to age that lie, Bade his wide fabric unimpaired sustain The orchard's store, and cheese, and golden grain; Bade from its central base, capacious laid, The well-wrought chimney rear its lofty head Where since hath many a savoury ham been stored, And tempests howled and Christmas gambols roared.

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