Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 3/July

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Page:ONCE A WEEK JUL TO DEC 1860.pdf/54 Page:ONCE A WEEK JUL TO DEC 1860.pdf/55 Page:ONCE A WEEK JUL TO DEC 1860.pdf/56 Page:ONCE A WEEK JUL TO DEC 1860.pdf/57 Page:ONCE A WEEK JUL TO DEC 1860.pdf/58 least, of the notions, and talk, and manners of the fishermen, and how they sup, and how they manage their craft, so that in future we may know how to think of them, when, from the cliff or the beach, we see their fleet put off for the night-fishing, or returning in the early sunlight.

July must certainly be a favourite month with me, so hard as I find it to turn away from the mere inventory of its pleasures. But there is business to be looked to.

The greenhouses must be repaired and painted while we can keep the plants out of doors. We must put an end to the delay about opening the drinking-fountain in the village, which was promised before the dog-days. The trough below is more wanted for the dogs than even the cup and basin above for working-men and wayfarers. If the policeman keeps an eye on that trough, to see that it is not meddled with, and on any strange hungry dog that may appear, we need have no more horrible alarms about mad dogs, such as we had last year. There would be nearly an end of that terror if there were water-troughs for dogs wherever dogs abound. We must get the people at N—— stirred up to erect drinking-fountains, and open their baths before the hot weather is gone. When down in the low grounds, I must see after the cygnets for the park-mere, and take a lesson in swan-doctoring for the languid season, when it is not easy to replenish the still waters sufficiently. My neighbours entreat me to ascertain the truth about the potato-disease. Now is the time for it to give hints, if it is going to afflict us again; and to inquire into this is the main object of my next circuit among the farms. The field peas will be cut in the forwardest places by the time we return from our last round; and the lads are to see the thatching of the ricks, as we are learning to do it now. More children's employments! There is driving home the peat-crate, drawn by pony or ass, and cranberry gathering, and helping in fishing and curing, both salmon and herrings, to say nothing of all the other fish which abound in July,—the cod and smelts, the turbots, soles, skate, and plenty more. Then there is the gathering of unripe apples and plums, to sell for puddings and pies; and carrying to market the thinnings of the apricot crops, which make the best tarts in the world; and the supplying all housewives with fruit for preserving,—currants and raspberries, gooseberries and strawberries. Then the stout country lads can get in the peas, cut them close to the ground with sickles, and bind them with the least possible shaking; and the girls meantime must be looking after the ailing hens, which will be moulting for a month to come. There is plenty for everybody to do in July, though the barley will not put on its dazzling whiteness till the end of the month, nor the red wheat yet look as if it was tanned by the sun. We call it an interval of leisure between the hay and the corn harvests; but there is plenty to do and to learn, as my lads and I shall find, from beginning to end of our holiday time. If there is any leisure, it is when St. Swithin's Day makes good its old promise; but July rains keep no rational people within doors for many hours at a time. Some of us like them as well as sunshine, when seen from a boat-house or the shelter of a hollow tree: and an alternation of the two, which would be our choice, is usually our happy fate. And so marches July, in his gay pathway between ripening harvests!