Far Away and Long Ago

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CHAPTER IX OUR NEIGHBOURS AT THE POPLARS

Homes on the great green plain--Making the acquaintance of our neighbours--The attraction of birds--Los Alamos and the old lady of the house--Her treatment of St. Anthony--The strange Barboza family-- The man of blood--Great fighters--Barboza as a singer--A great quarrel but no fight--A cattle-marking--Dona Lucia del Ombu--A feast--Barboza sings and is insulted by El Rengo--Refuses to fight--The two kinds of fighters--A poor little angel on horseback--My feeling for Anjelita-- Boys unable to express sympathy--A quarrel with a friend--Enduring image of a little girl

CHAPTER X OUR NEAREST ENGLISH NEIGHBOUR

Casa Antigua, our nearest English neighbour's house--Old Lombardy poplars--Cardoon thistle or wild artichoke--Mr. Royd, an English sheep-farmer--Making sheep's-milk cheeses under difficulties--Mr. Royd's native wife--The negro servants--The two daughters: a striking contrast--The white blue-eyed child and her dusky playmate--A happy family--Our visits to Casa Antigua--Gorgeous dinners--Estanislao and his love of wild life--The Royds' return visit--A home-made carriage-- The gaucho's primitive conveyance--The happy home broken up

CHAPTER XI A BREEDER OF PIEBALDS

La Tapera, a native estancia--Don Gregorio Gandara--His grotesque appearance and strange laugh--Gandara's wife and her habits and pets-- My dislike of hairless dogs--Gandara's daughters--A pet ostrich--In the peach orchard--Gandara's herds of piebald brood mares--His masterful temper--His own saddle-horses--Creating a sensation at gaucho gatherings--The younger daughter's lovers--Her marriage at our house--The priest and the wedding breakfast--Demetria forsaken by her husband

CHAPTER XII THE HEAD OF A DECAYED HOUSE

The Estancia Canada Seca--Low lands and floods--Don Anastacio, a gaucho exquisite--A greatly respected man--Poor relations--Don Anastacio a pig-fancier--Narrow escape from a pig--Charm of the low green lands--The flower called _macachina_--A sweet-tasting bulb --Beauty of the green flower-sprinkled turf--A haunt of the golden plover--The _bolas_--My plover-hunting experience--Rebuked by a gaucho--A green spot, our playground in summer and lake in winter--The venomous toad-like _Ceratophrys_--Vocal performance of the toad-like creature--We make war on them--The great lake battle and its results

CHAPTER XIII A PATRIARCH OF THE PAMPAS

The grand old man of the plains--Don Evaristo Penalva, the Patriarch-- My first sight of his estancia house--Don Evaristo described--A husband of six wives--How he was esteemed and loved by every one--On leaving home I lose sight of Don Evaristo--I meet him again after seven years--His failing health--His old first wife and her daughter, Cipriana--The tragedy of Cipriana--Don Evaristo dies and I lose sight of the family

CHAPTER XIV THE DOVECOTE

A favourite climbing tree--The desire to fly--Soaring birds-A peregrine falcon--The dovecote and pigeon-pies--The falcon's depredations--A splendid aerial feat--A secret enemy of the dovecote-- A short-eared owl in a loft--My father and birds--A strange flower-- The owls' nesting-place--Great owl visitations

CHAPTER XV SERPENT AND CHILD

My pleasure in bird life--Mammals at our new home--Snakes and how children are taught to regard them--A colony of snakes in the house-- Their hissing confabulations--Finding serpent sloughs--A serpent's saviour--A brief history of our English neighbours, the Blakes

CHAPTER XVI A SERPENT MYSTERY

A new feeling about snakes--Common snakes of the country--A barren weedy patch--Discovery of a large black snake--Watching for its reappearance--Seen going to its den--The desire to see it again--A vain search--Watching a bat--The black serpent reappears at my feet-- Emotions and conjectures--Melanism--My baby sister and a strange snake--The mystery solved

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