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Mrs. Benson now expressed her desire to see the Sheep-shearing; on which Mrs. Wilson and her daughter conducted her and Miss Harriet to the field, where they arrived at the conclusion of the operation; and a very pleasing sight it was to behold the happy creatures, who lately waddled under a heavy heating load, relieved from their burden, leaping and frisking with delight, whilst the accumulated wool seemed, as it lay, to promise comfortable clothing for many a naked wretch among the buman species, who, destitute of such a supply, would be in danger of perishing with cold in the ensuing winter. · Miss Harriet observed the innocent countenances of the Sheep and Lambs, and said she thought it was a thousand pities to kill them..
It is so, my dear, said her mama, but we must not indulge our feelings too far in respect to animals which are given us for food; all we have to do is to avoid barbarity. It is happy for them that having no apprehension of being killed, they enjoy life in peace and security to the very last; and even when the knife is lifted to their throats, they are ignorant of its destination : and a few struggles put an end to their pain for ever. But come, Mrs. Wilson, will you favour us with a sight of your Cows ?-With pleasure, madam,
said she; they are by this time driven up to be milked. "Mrs. Wilson then conducted her visitors towards the farm-yard.
Perhaps, madam, said she, as they walked along, the young lady and gentleman may be afraid of horned cattle? I believe, replied Mrs. Benson, I may venture to say that Harriet has no unreasonable fears of any living creature; it has been my endeavour to guard the minds of my children against so distressing a weakness; but whether Frederick's heart has acquired fortitude enough to enable him to venture near so many Cows, I cannot tell.— yes, mama, cried Frederick, I would sooner get up and ride into the yard on the horns of one of them than run away. Well, we shall soon put your courage to the proof, said Mrs. Benson; so come along, sir.
As for my children, said Mrs. Wilson, they are remarkably courageous in respect to animals : all the creatures belonging to us are very harmless and gentle, which is the natural consequence of kind treatment, and no person need be afraid of walking in any part of our grounds; but it is difficult to persuade some people that there is no danger, for they are apt to imagine that every loose horse they see will gallop over them, and that every creature with horns will gore and toss them. • Very true, replied Mrs. Benson; and I have known many as much afraid of a toad, a frog, or a spider, as if certain death would be the consequence of meeting them: when, if these persons would but make use of their reason, they would soon be convinced that such fears are ill grounded. Frogs and Toads are very harmless creatures, and so far from offering an injury to any human being they may chance to meet, they hop away with all possible expedition, from a dread of being themselves destroyed; and Spiders drop suddenly down, with a view to their own preservation only; and therefore it is highly ridiculous to be afraid of them.
Horses and oxen are inuch more formidable creatures; they certainly could do us a great deal of mischief, if they were conscious of their superior strength;
but God has wisely ordained that they should not be so; and having given mankind dominion over them, he has implanted in their nature an awe and dread of the human species, which occasion them to yield subjection to the lords of the creation, when they exert their authority in a proper manner.
It is really a very wonderful thing, Mrs. Wilson, to see a fine lively Horse submitting to the bit and harness, or a drove of Oxen quietly marching under the direction of one man. But it is observable that these creatures which are the most useful to us are the easiest tamed; and yield, not only singly but in flocks, to mankind, nay, even to boys. This shows at once the goodness and power of the Creator.
From what I have said, my dear, added Mrs. Benson, you must perceive that it is a great weakness for a human being to be afraid of animals.
By this time the party were advanced pretty near to the farm-yard, and Frederick espied one of the Cows peeping over the gate; on which, with a countenance expressive of fear, he ran hastily to his mama, and asked her whether Cows could toss people over gates and hedges? What a silly question, Frederick, said she; pray look again, and you will perceive that it is impossible for such large heavy creatures to do so; and these enclosures are made on purpose to confine them within proper bounds. But did not you boast just now that “you could ride on the horns of one of them ?” That I shall not require you to do, for it would very likely make the creature angry, because Cows are not accustomed to carry any load upon their heads; neither would I allow you to run after them with a stick, or to make any attempt to frighten them; but if you approach as a friend, I make no doubt you will be received as such ; so summon your courage and attend us, the Cows will not hurt you, I can assure
Neddy Wilson then began laughing, from the idea that a boy should be afraid of a Cow; which made Frederick ashamed of himself; and, quitting his mama's gown, by which he had held fast while she was speaking, he laid fast hold of Neddy's hand, and declared his resolution to go as near the Cow as he would. I will not take upon me to say that his little heart was perfectly free from palpitation; but that lay in his own bosom, where none could discover its feelings but himself; so let us give him as much credit for courage as we can, and acknowledge him to have been a noble little fellow, in thus trusting himself amongst a number of horned cattle.
The whole party now entered the farm-yard, where they saw eight fine Cows, fat, sleek, and beautifully clean, who yielded several pails of rich milk; the steam of which, added to the breath of the Cows, cast a delightful fragrance around. Mrs. Wilson then entreated her company to return to the house, where tea was provided, and a delicious syllabub.
The farmer now came back and refreshed himself with a cup of ale, which was very comfortable after the fatigues of the day.
I have had, said Mrs. Benson, great pleasure in viewing your farm, Mr. Wilson, which appears to me to afford all the desirable comforts and conveniences of life, and I most sincerely wish a continuance of your prosperity. If it is not an impertinent question, pray tell me, did you inherit the farm from your father, or was it purehased with the fruits of your own industry ?
Neither my wife nor I have led an idle life, I assure you, madam, replied the farmer; but next to the blessing of heaven, I think myself in a great degree indebted to my Cattle for my good success. My father left me master of a little farm, with a few acres of land well cropped, three Horses, two Cows, ten Sheep, a Sow and Pigs, a Jackass, and a few Poultry; these have gradually multiplied to what you now see me possess, besides numbers that I have sold; and I have had fine crops of hay and corn; so that every year I laid by a little inoney, till I was able to purchase this farm, which has proved a very good one to me.
There is something so uncommon in hearing a farmer attribute a part of his success in life to his Cattle, that I should be obliged to you, Mr. Wilson, said the lady, if you would account to me for this circumstance. Most readily, madam, said he.
When I was a very young man I heard a fine sermon from the pulpit, preached by my dear wife's father, on the subject of showing mercy to brutes, which made a great impression on my mind; and I have ever since acted towards all dumb creatures as I would to mankind, upon the principle of doing as I would be done
I always consider every beast that works for me as my servant, and entitled to wages : but as beasts cannot use money, I pay them in things of more value to them: and make it a rule, unless in case of great necessity, to let them enjoy rest on the Sabbath-day.
I am very cautious of not letting my beasts work beyond their strength, and always give them their food