“Well, well, that
little hairy bull, he shanna be so bad:
But what be yonder beast I hear, a-bellowing like mad,
A-snorting fire and smoke out? be it some big Roosian gun!
Or be it twenty bullocks squez together into one?”
“My steam factotum,
that, Sir, doing all I have to do,
My ploughman and my reaper, and my jolly thrasher, too!
Steam’s yet but in its infancy, no mortal man alive
Can tell to what perfection modern farming will arrive.”
“Steam as yet
is but an infant”—he had scarcely
said the word,
When through the tottering farmstead was a loud explosion heard;
The engine dealing death around, destruction and dismay;
Though steam be but an infant this indeed was no child’s play.
The women screamed like
blazes, as the blazing hayrick burned,
The sucking pigs were in a crack, all into crackling turned;
Grilled chickens clog the hencoop, roasted ducklings choke the
And turkeys round the poultry yard on devilled pinions flutter.
Two feet deep in buttermilk
the stoker’s two feet lie,
The cook before she bakes it finds a finger in the pie;
The labourers for their lost legs are looking round the farm,
They couldn’t lend a hand because they had not got an arm.
Oldstyle all soot, from
head to foot, looked like a big black
Newstyle was thrown upon his own experimental heap;
“That weather-glass,” said Oldstyle, “canna be in proper fettle,
Or it might as well a tow’d us there was thunder in the kettle.”
“Steam is so expansive.”
“Aye,” said Oldstyle, “so I see.
So expensive, as you call it, that it winna do for me;
According to my notion, that’s a beast that canna pay,
Who champs up for his morning feed a hundred ton of hay.”
Then to himself, said
Oldstyle, as he homewards quickly went,
“I’ll tak’ no farm where doctors’ bills be heavier than the rent;
I’ve never in hot water been, steam shanna speed my plough,
I’d liefer thrash my corn out by the sweat of my own brow.
“I neither want
to scald my pigs, nor toast my cheese, not I,
Afore the butcher sticks ’em or the factor comes to buy;
They shanna catch me here again to risk my limbs and loife;
I’ve nought at whoam to blow me up except it be my woif.”
HOPS—INSECT ATTACKS—HOP FAIRS.
“Oft expectation fails,
and most oft there
Where most it promises; and oft it hits
Where hope is coldest and despair most fits.”
—All’s Well that Ends Well.
In a very rare black-letter book on hop culture, A Perfite Platforme of a Hoppe Garden, published in the year 1578 and therefore over 340 years old, the author, Reynolde Scot, has the following quaint remarks on one of the disorders to which the hop plant is liable: