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in due season; nor do I ever suffer them to be beat or cruelly used. Besides giving them what I call their daily wages, I indulge them with all the comforts I can afford them.
In summer, when the business of the day is over, my Horses enjoy themselves in a good pasture, and in winter they are sheltered from the inclemencies of the weather in a warm stable. If they get old, I contrive some easy task for them; and when they can work no longer, I let them live on the common without it, till age and infirmities make their lives burthensome to themselves, when I have them put to as easy a death as possible.
Though my Cows and Sheep do not work for me, I think them entitled to a recompense for the profit I receive from their milk and wool, and endeavour to repay them with the kindest usage; and even my Jackass finds mercy from ine, for I could not bear to see so useful a creature ill treated; and as for my Dogs, I set great store by them on account of their fidelity.
These are very excellent rules indeed, Mr. Wilson, and I wish they were generally followed, said Mrs. Benson; for I believe many poor beasts suffer greatly from the ill treatment inflicted on them; the Horses in Post-chaises, and Hackney-coaches in London particularly. Yes, madam, said the farmer, I have heard So, and could tell you such stories of cruelties exercised on brutes in the country, as would quite shock you; and I have seen such instances myself of the ill effects of neglecting them, as have contirmed me in the notions I learned from the good sermon I told you of.
I ami much obliged to you for your information, Mr. Wilson, said Mrs. Benson, and hope my children will never forget it; for it certainly is a duty to extend our clemency to beasts and other animals. Nay, we are strictly commanded in the Scriptures to show compassion to the beasts of others, even to those of our enemies; surely, then, those which are our own property, and work for us, have a peculiar claim to it. There is one custom which shocks me very much, and that is pounding of cattle; I fancy, Mr. Wilson, you do not practise that much.
Madam, replied he, I should much rather pound the owners of them, through whose neglect or dishonesty it generally happens that horses trespass on other people's land. If any beast accidentally gets into my grounds, I send it home to its owner, for it certainly is no wilful fault in the creature to seek the best pasture it can find; but if I have reason to suppose his owner. 'turned him in, I then think myself obliged to do what the law directs in that respect: but though it is a secret I am obliged to keep from my neighbours, I may safely confess to you, madam, that I have not the heart to let a poor beast starve in a pound. As there are no courts of justice in which beasts can seek redress, I set up one for them in my own breast, where humanity pleads their cause.
I wish they had such an advocate in every breast, Mr. Wilson, said the lady; but my watch reminds me we must now take our leave, which I do with many thanks to you and Mrs. Wilson, for your kind entertainment and good cheer, and shall be happy to return your civilities at my own house; and pray bring your whole family with you.
Mrs. Benson then desired her son and daughter to prepare for their departure. Frederick was grown so intimate with little Neddy, that he could scarcely be prevailed on to leave him, till he recollected Robin and the Linnet.
As they returned in the coach, Mrs. Benson remarked that farmer Wilson's story was enough to make every one who heard it careful of their live stock, for their own sakes; but, said she, the pleasure and advantage will be greatly increased if it is done from a principle of humanity as well as interest. Miss Benson answered that she hoped she should neither treat animals ill, nor place her affections on them too strongly.
That, my dear, replied her good mama, is the proper medium to be observed.
In a short time they arrived at home. The maid, to whose care the Birds had been entrusted, gave a good account of her charge; and Miss Harriet and Master Frederick went to bed in peace, after a day spent with much pleasure and improvement.
Benson's, as to fear he wor, he kept his aplo
The next morning the Redbreasts attended at Mrs. Benson's, as usual, and Robin was still better, but his father began to fear he would never perfectly recover from his accident; however, he kept his apprehensions to himself, and suffered the little ones to entertain their lame brother with a relation of what they had seen the day before in the orchard. Frederick and Harriet were so diverted with the chattering and chirping of the little things, that they did not miss the parent's song.
When the young ones had stayed as long as she thought right, the Hen Redbreast summoned them away, and all took leave of Robin, who longed to go
with them, but was not able. The father reminded him that he had great reason to rejoice in his present situation, considering all things; on which he resumed his cheerfulness, and, giving a sprightly twitter, hopped into Master Frederick's hand, which was spread open to receive him. The rest then Mew away, and Miss Harriet and her brother prepared for their morning tasks.
The Redbreasts alighted as usual to drink in the court-yard, and were preparing to return to the orchard, when Flapsy expressed a desire to look a little about the world; for she said it would be very mopish to be always confined to the orchard; and Dicky seconded her request. Pecksy replied, that however her curiosity might be excited, she had known so much happiness in the nest, that she was strongly attached to the paternal spot, and could gladly pass her life there. The parents highly commended her contented disposition; but her father said, that as there was nothing blameable in the inclination Dicky and Flapsy discovered for seeing the world, provided it was kept within due bounds, he would readily gratify it: then asking if they were sufficiently refreshed, he took wing, and led the way to a neighbouring grove, where he placed his little tribe amongst the branches of a venerable oak.
Here their ears were charmed with a most enchanting concert of music. On one tree a Blackbird and a Thrush poured forth their strong melodious notes; on another a number of Linnets joined their sweet voices; exalted in the air a Skylark modulated his delightful pipe; whilst a brother of the wood, seated on a cool refreshing turf, made the grove reecho with his melody; to these the Nightingale joined his enchanting