The farm cottages are all built of wood, painted white, and look as clean and fresh as so many new-built model dairies. The neat little churches, too, appeared as bright as though the painters had left them the evening before. And here I must remark a convenience attached to them, which it might be well to imitate in those of our own churches which are situated in out-of-the-way districts, such as the Highlands of Scotland, where many of the congregation have to come from a considerable distance. The convenience I allude to is simply a long, broad shed, open all one side of its length, and fitted with rings, &c., for tethering the horses of those who, from fancy, distance, age, or sickness, are unwilling or unable to come on foot. The expense would be but small, and the advantage great. Onward speed our dapper greys, fresh as four-year-olds; and the further we go, the better they seem to like it. The only bait they get is five minutes’ breathing time, and a great bucket of water, which they seem to relish as much as if it were a magnum of iced champagne. The avenue before us leads into Geneseo, the place of our destination, where my kind friend, Mr. Wadsworth, was waiting to welcome us to his charming little country-place, situated just outside the village. ’And what a beautiful place is this same Geneseo! But, for the present, we must discharge our faithful greys—see our new friends, old and young—enjoy a better bait than our nags did at the half-way house, indulge in the fragrant Havana, and retire to roost. To-morrow we will talk of the scenery.
[Footnote E: As a similar expression occurs frequently in this work, the reader is requested to remember that it is a common custom in America to name a horse according to the time in which he can trot a mile. The boy evidently had a visionary idea in his mind that the little hack he was asking permission to ride, had accomplished the feat of trotting a mile in two minutes and forty seconds.]
It is a lovely bright autumn morning, with a pure blue sky, and a pearly atmosphere through which scarce a zephyr is stealing; the boughs of the trees hang motionless; my window is open; but, how strange the perfect stillness! No warbling note comes from the feathered tribe to greet the rising sun, and sing, with untaught voice, their Maker’s praise; even the ubiquitous house-sparrow is neither seen nor heard. How strange this comparative absence of animal life in a country which, having been so recently intruded upon by the destroyer—man—one would expect to find superabundantly populated with those animals, against which he does not make war either for his use or amusement. Nevertheless, so it is; and I have often strolled about for hours in the woods, in perfect solitude, with no sound to meet the ear—no life to catch the eye. But I am wandering from the house too soon;—a jolly scream in the nursery reminds me that, at all events, there is animal life within, and that the possessor thereof has no disease of the lungs.