She had, among other bad things, a morbid appetite. Notwithstanding we gave her the richest herbaceous diet, she ate everything she could put her mouth on. She was fond of horse blankets and articles of human clothing. I found her one day at the clothes line, nearly choked to death, for she had swallowed one leg of something and seemed dissatisfied that she could not get down the other. The most perfect nuisance that I ever had about my place was that full-blooded.
Having read in our agricultural journals of cows that were slaughtered yielding fourteen hundred pounds neat weight, we concluded to sell her to the butcher. We set a high price upon her and got it—that is, we took a note for it, which is the same thing. My bargain with the butcher was the only successful chapter in my bovine experiences. The only taking-off in the whole transaction was that the butcher ran away, leaving me nothing but a specimen of poor chirography, and I already had enough of that among my manuscripts.
My friend, never depend on high-breeds. Some of the most useless of cattle had ancestors spoken of in the “Commentaries of Caesar.” That Alderney whose grandfather used to graze on a lord’s park in England may not be worth the grass she eats.
Do not depend too much on the high-sounding name of Durham or Devon. As with animals, so with men. Only one President ever had a President for a son. Let every cow make her own name, and every man achieve his own position. It is no great credit to a fool that he had a wise grandfather. Many an Ayrshire and Hereford has had the hollow-horn and the foot-rot. Both man and animal are valuable in proportion as they are useful. “Mike’s” cow beat my full-blooded.
The dregs in Leatherbacks’ tea-cup.
We have an earlier tea this evening than usual, for we have a literary friend who comes about this time of the week, and he must go home to retire about eight o’clock. His nervous system is so weak that he must get three or four hours sleep before midnight; otherwise he is next day so cross and censorious he scalps every author he can lay his hand on. As he put his hand on the table with an indelible blot of ink on his thumb and two fingers, which blot he had not been able to wash off, I said, “Well, my old friend Leatherbacks, what books have you been reading to-day?”
He replied, “I have been reading ‘Men and Things.’ Some books touch only the head and make us think; other books touch only the heart and make us feel; here and there one touches us under the fifth rib and makes us laugh; but the book on ‘Men and Things,’ by the Rev. Dr. C.S. Henry, touched me all over. I have felt better ever since. I have not seen the author but once since the old university days, when he lectured us and pruned us and advised us and did us more good than almost any other instructor we ever had.