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A Scholar’s Adventures In The Country
by [?]

“If we could only live in the country,” said my wife, “how much easier it would be to live!”

“And how much cheaper!” said I.

“To have a little place of our own, and raise our own things!” said my wife. “Dear me! I am heartsick when I think of the old place at home, and father’s great garden. What peaches and melons we used to have! what green peas and corn! Now one has to buy every cent’s worth of these things–and how they taste! Such wilted, miserable corn! Such peas! Then, if we lived in the country, we should have our own cow, and milk and cream in abundance; our own hens and chickens. We could have custard and ice-cream every day.”

“To say nothing of the trees and flowers, and all that,” said I.

The result of this little domestic duet was that my wife and I began to ride about the city of —- to look up some pretty, interesting cottage, where our visions of rural bliss might be realized. Country residences, near the city, we found to bear rather a high price; so that it was no easy matter to find a situation suitable to the length of our purse; till, at last, a judicious friend suggested a happy expedient.

“Borrow a few hundred,” he said, “and give your note; you can save enough, very soon, to make the difference. When you raise everything you eat, you know it will make your salary go a wonderful deal further.”

“Certainly it will,” said I. “And what can be more beautiful than to buy places by the simple process of giving one’s note?–’tis so neat, and handy, and convenient!”

“Why,” pursued my friend, “there is Mr. B., my next-door neighbor–’tis enough to make one sick of life in the city to spend a week out on his farm. Such princely living as one gets! And he assures me that it costs him very little–scarce anything perceptible, in fact.”

“Indeed!” said I; “few people can say that.”

“Why,” said my friend, “he has a couple of peach-trees for every month, from June till frost, that furnish as many peaches as he, and his wife, and ten children can dispose of. And then he has grapes, apricots, etc.; and last year his wife sold fifty dollars’ worth from her strawberry patch, and had an abundance for the table besides. Out of the milk of only one cow they had butter enough to sell three or four pounds a week, besides abundance of milk and cream; and madam has the butter for her pocket money. This is the way country people manage.”

“Glorious!” thought I. And my wife and I could scarcely sleep, all night, for the brilliancy of our anticipations!

To be sure our delight was somewhat damped the next day by the coldness with which my good old uncle, Jeremiah Standfast, who happened along at precisely this crisis, listened to our visions.

“You’ll find it pleasant, children, in the summer time,” said the hard-fisted old man, twirling his blue-checked pocket-handkerchief; “but I’m sorry you’ve gone in debt for the land.”

“Oh, but we shall soon save that–it’s so much cheaper living in the country!” said both of us together.

“Well, as to that, I don’t think it is, to city-bred folks.”

Here I broke in with a flood of accounts of Mr. B.’s peach-trees, and Mrs. B.’s strawberries, butter, apricots, etc., etc.; to which the old gentleman listened with such a long, leathery, unmoved quietude of visage as quite provoked me, and gave me the worst possible opinion of his judgment. I was disappointed, too; for as he was reckoned one of the best practical farmers in the county, I had counted on an enthusiastic sympathy with all my agricultural designs.

“I tell you what, children,” he said, “a body can live in the country, as you say, amazin’ cheap; but then a body must know how,”–and my uncle spread his pocket-handkerchief thoughtfully out upon his knees, and shook his head gravely.