Then there were a lot of geese there. Patch thought he would have a bit of fun with the geese one day, so he set off to chase them. There was a great fluster and spreading of wings, and they waddled off a few yards; then they turned suddenly and faced him, stretching out their long necks and hissing, at which Patch turned tail and troubled them no more.
The village children on their way to and from school would linger on the common to chase butterflies or run races. Then the boys found it a capital place for playing at soldiers and leap-frog, and other things.
As it was June the farm people were busy in the hay, so of course Dorothy and Oliver helped. They raked and tossed and gathered it into heaps, and then they grew dreadfully hungry, so they sat under the hedge and ate bread and cheese, which they found was quite the correct lunch for haymakers. Patch sat with them and was having his share, when he suddenly began sniffing and snorting and scratching round a haycock. They thought there must be a rat about, but when they moved the hay they found a poor little creature with a brown plush coat and no eyes! Nurse told them it was a mole, so they put it in a box lined with cotton-wool and gave it lettuce to eat, but it only lived four days. I don’t think it would like the most luxurious nest as well as a little hole in the ground.
It would take a long time to tell you about all the children saw and did during their visit to the Dale Farm: how they rode on the hay, then came jogging back in the empty cart for more; how they drove with the farmer in his spring-cart, which was not so very springy; how they learned to milk, and quite got over their fear of cows. Altogether they had such a delightful time that they hope they may go again next year.
When the letter came to say the ship had arrived bringing back their father and mother they were of course delighted, but they were quite sorry to have to say good-bye to all their farm friends, animals as well as people.
So the children went back to their city home, and when their father and mother heard all their accounts of the good time they had had, and saw their tanned and rosy cheeks, they said: “O, you must go again next year.”
[Illustration: A GOOD KICK.]
When Betty kept a school one
Her sister was so good;
The dollies every one behaved
As well-taught dollies should;
But Tom was such a noisy boy
She had to get the cane;
The very sight gave him a fright
And made him good again!