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morning's conning; the younger lads especially eyeing him, as if to ascertain whether he exhibited any unusual traits in his features. The amount of money which a boy had, very much determined his rank in the world. The more money he had, the older he was regarded, and hence the better entitled to smoke pieces of cane, or even to chew tobacco if he thought proper. If either of these operations made him sick, not a word was said about it; but if a poor boy, or one who seldom spent money, ventured on so bold a step, he became a target for ridicule, and was so jeered by his comrades, that life, for at least another year, must be a burthen to him.
My boyish days, my boyish days,
I gambolled down the mountain's side,
And skipped, on merry feet, away
From haunts of churlish men.
Oh! yes, in truth, my heart was light,
Then there is the strange hope which possesses boyhood-the strange hope in the future. They talk about what they intend to be; and how they like this trade or
that trade, or this or that profession. Life is all mystery to them, yet they are not wholly dead to a sense of what its reality may be; and as their years grow towards youth, and give hints of coming adolescence, this thought of the future grows into an excitement which, for a time, eats up the whole of life, and bears them along into all manner of strange dreams, and schemes, and wayward imaginings—the reality all the while lying beyond them, but revealing itself in shreds and patches, till they grow into the full consciousness of its serious import, and feel the first pressure of responsibility.
So life passes, phase after phase, and manhood comes by a slow growth, and continues to ripen until we have so grown out of the boy-skin that we can look down upon it, almost doubting that it was ever ours; until a flood of these boyish memories encircles us, and we are once more assured of our beginning in the world, and rejoice that we were boys indeed.
For ourselves, we would be boys ever; not in orchardrobbing, milk-churning, or pelting at the church clock; but in freshness of feeling-in freedom from conventional rules and the coldness of polished hypocrisy—in hearty fellowship with all we meet, and in the strong hope in the future; the forward-looking, earnest-striving, hopeful ambition to tear aside the cobwebs of prejudice and falsity, and enter with pride and hilarity into the life that lies before us. Off with your kid gloves, man, and pluck the blackberries.
"The mountains high, and how they stand!
On hills then show the ewe and lamb,
EACH season has its own pictures, and each picture its own peculiar feature. In nature nothing is repeated, though the whole economy of nature is endless repetition. You may have travelled all over the round world, and witnessed scenes innumerable, and the productions of nature under every variety of aspect, but you never saw the same picture twice. The summer-scenes of England are peculiarly beautiful, and there is no spot in the world which can equal the domestic rusticity and rich verdant beauty of English out-door pictures—although I am an Englishman, and say so. Italy, the garden of the world, is parched up as brown as an old hat, at the season of
Midsummer. The plains of Judea, and the valleys of Jordan, though extolled by travellers, are, nevertheless, during the most charming portion of the year, nothing more than wide carpets of a dull melancholy green; for the shapeless olive-bushes, which grow so numerously in those districts, wear, when in their most luxuriant condition, nothing but a mass of dull, dingy leaves, destitute altogether of either grace or verdant beauty. We shall therefore turn with some gratulation to glance on a few pictures from our own fields, drawn, it is true, with a very weak pen, but still copied from nature, and if not truly in the letter, at least in the spirit by which they were prompted-genuine transcripts of the real thousand brambles, and rose-blooms, and fruitful fields, for which our beloved country is so justly celebrated.
Well, there are so many, I scarcely know with which to begin. Do you see yonder gipsy-tent, sending up a blue wreath of smoke among the elm trees-a soft curling stream of the purest azure, flinging a most beautiful shadow upon the leafy branches, and diffusing an odour more potent than that of violets-to give an idea of the comfort of the country? There is an old knotted oak to the right, which looks as venerable as St. Pierre; just below it is a wooden bridge, which cracked its ribs long ago, and now threatens to go in the back, and let some poor fellow souse into the water, some fine morning before breakfast. The water-weeds and forget-me-nots are fond of these maimed and broken-winded timbers, and grow in rich festoons of green and blue about them, as if they were adorning the portico of Flora's temple. The elongated mass of green algæ
which clings to the last plank by the willow-tree, and hangs down into the slow current, as if it had nothing to do but dream of water sprites and fairy grots, will wake up some morning and find that it had been clinging to a forlorn hope, and must get out of the rubbish and masses of rotten timber the best way it can, or perish amid the ruins of its lost home.
Well! swing round a bit over the common, and get upon the hillock of gravel; and now look all around upon the rich masses of waving fern, and the glittering light which plays amid the cool green of the oak leaves; see the winding river, like a clear silver line, cutting its way through green oases of willows aud tall reeds; look further on over the heath-covered hill, sheltering the sweet village in the valley at its feet; look at the strange play of the sunshine, as the huge clouds go sailing along like mighty spirits in the vast abyss. Here is the broad highway, dotted here and there with moving figures and stately clumps of pines, and the sun shines upon the white sandy road, as if it would blind the very hedges which stand along the pathway to hide the fields from wayfarers. Down yonder lies a broad reedy marsh, and the clouds hang above it to see their faces reflected in the waters which look so blue and cool, and which go lurking here and there beneath rank sedges and osiers and tall rushes, where a heedless footstep might lead to our entanglement in a muddy sepulchre. See the ten red kine, and the five long-tailed plough-horses, leading an amphibious life there in the shady corners, and envy them their freedom and companionship in the dense shade and delightfully cool mire.