Far Away and Long Ago

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FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO

A HISTORY OF MY EARLY LIFE

BY W. H. HUDSON

Author of "Idle Days In Patagonia," "The Purple Land," "A Crystal Age," "Adventures Among Birds," Etc.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I EARLIEST MEMORIES

Preamble--The house where I was born--The singular ombu tree--A tree without a name--The plain--The ghost of a murdered slave--Our playmate, the old sheep-dog--A first riding-lesson--The cattle: an evening scene--My mother--Captain Scott--The hermit and his awful penance

CHAPTER II MY NEW HOME

We quit our old home--A winter day journey--Aspect of the country--Our new home--A prisoner in the barn--The plantation--A paradise of rats-- An evening scene--The people of the house--A beggar on horseback--Mr. Trigg our schoolmaster--His double nature--Impersonates an old woman-- Reading Dickens--Mr. Trigg degenerates--Once more a homeless wanderer on the great plain

CHAPTER III DEATH OF AN OLD DOG

The old dog Caesar--His powerful personality--Last days and end--The old dog's burial--The fact of death is brought home to me--A child's mental anguish--My mother comforts me--Limitations of the child's mind--Fear of death--Witnessing the slaughter of cattle--A man in the moat--Margarita, the nursery-maid--Her beauty and lovableness--Her death--I refuse to see her dead

CHAPTER IV THE PLANTATION

Living with trees--Winter violets--The house is made habitable--Red willow--Scizzor-tail and carrion-hawk--Lombardy poplars--Black acacia --Other trees--The fosse or moat--Rats--A trial of strength with an armadillo--Opossums living with a snake--Alfalfa field and butterflies--Cane brake--Weeds and fennel--Peach trees in blossom-- Paroquets--Singing of a field finch--Concert-singing in birds--Old John--Cow-birds' singing--Arrival of summer migrants

CHAPTER V ASPECTS OF THE PLAIN

Appearance of a green level land--Cardoon and giant thistles--Villages of the _vizcacha_, a large burrowing rodent--Groves and plantations seen like islands on the wide level plains--Trees planted by the early colonists--Decline of the colonists from an agricultural to a pastoral people--Houses as part of the landscape--Flesh diet of the gauchos-- Summer change in the aspect of the plain--The water-like mirage--The giant thistle and a "thistle year"--Fear of fires--An incident at a fire--The _pampero_, or south-west wind, and the fall of the thistles --Thistle-down and thistle-seed as food for animals--A great pampero storm--Big hailstones--Damage caused by hail--Zango, an old horse, killed--Zango and his master

CHAPTER VI SOME BIRD ADVENTURES

Visit to a river on the pampas--A first long walk--Water-fowl--My first sight of flamingoes--A great dove visitation--Strange tameness of the birds--Vain attempts at putting salt on their tails--An ethical question: When is a lie not a lie?--The _carancho_, a vulture-eagle-- Our pair of _caranchos_--Their nest in a peach tree--I am ambitious to take their eggs--The birds' crimes--I am driven off by the birds--The nest pulled down

CHAPTER VII MY FIRST VISIT TO BUENOS AYRES

Happiest time--First visit to the capital--Old and New Buenos Ayres-- Vivid impressions--Solitary walk--How I learnt to go alone--Lost--The house we stayed at and the sea-like river--Rough and narrow streets-- Rows of posts--Carts and noise--A great church festival--Young men in black and scarlet--River scenes--Washerwomen and their language--Their word-fights with young fashionables--Night watchmen--A young gentleman's pastime--A fishing dog--A fine gentleman seen stoning little birds--A glimpse of Don Eusebio, the Dictator's fool

CHAPTER VIII THE TYRANT'S FALL AND WHAT FOLLOWED

The portraits in our drawing-room--The Dictator Rosas who was like an Englishman--The strange face of his wife, Encarnacion--The traitor Urquiza--The Minister of War, his peacocks and his son--Home again from the city--The war deprives us of our playmate--Natalia, our shepherd's wife--Her son, Medardo--The Alcalde, our grand old man-- Battle of Monte Caseros--The defeated army--Demands for fresh horses-- In peril--My father's shining defects--His pleasure in a thunderstorm --A childlike trust in his fellow-men--Soldiers turn upon their officer--A refugee given up and murdered--Our Alcalde again--On cutting throats--Ferocity and cynicism--Native blood-lust and its effects on a boy's mind--Feeling about Rosas--A bird poem or tale-- Vain search for lost poem and story of its authorship--The Dictator's daughter--Time, the old god

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