Page:Monthly scrap book, for June.pdf/18

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                 18                THE MONTHLY
                 they stand for a moment till the weight of water
                 leaves them, and, shaking their streaming sides, go
                 bleating away towards their fellows on the adjacent
                 green, wondering within themselves what has
                   The shearing is no less lively and picturesque,
                 and no less attended by all the idlers of the village
                 as spectators. The shearers, seated in rows beside
                 the crowded pens, with the seemingly inanimate
                 load of fleece in their laps, and bending intently
                 over their work; the occasional whetting and clap-
                 ping of the shears; the neatly-attired housewives,
                 waiting to receive the fleeces; the smoke from the
                 tar-kettle, ascending through the clear air; the
                 shorn sheep escaping, one by one, from their tem-
                 porary bondage, and trotting away towards their
                 distant brethren, bleating all the while for their
                 lambs, that do not know them; all this, with its
                 ground of universal green, and finished every-where
                 by its leafy distances, except where the village spire
                 intervenes, forms together a living picture, plea-
                 santer to look upon than words can speak, but still
                 pleasanter to think of, when that is the nearest ap-
                 proach you can make to it.
                 As cookery is the most honourable, so it is the
                 most ancient of sciences. There is no nation so
                 utterly barbarous as to devour their food without
                 some previous preparation, and the appellation of
                 a "cooking animal"  may be truly considered as
                 forming the most accurate specific definition of the
                 human race. The progress of cookery is, in fact,