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- Far Away and Long Ago - 1/45 -


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

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. Hoyd'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


Far Away and Long Ago - 1/45

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