Far Away And Long Ago A History Of My Early Life By W. H. Hudson








































































 - FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO

A HISTORY OF MY EARLY LIFE

BY W. H. HUDSON

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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

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 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

CHAPTER XVII A BOY'S ANIMISM

The animistic faculty and its survival in us - A boy's animism and its persistence - Impossibility of seeing our past exactly as it was - Serge Aksakoff's history of his childhood - The child's delight in nature purely physical - First intimations of animism in the child - How it affected me - Feeling with regard to flowers - A flower and my mother - History of a flower - Animism with regard to trees - Locust trees by moonlight - Animism and nature-worship - Animistic emotion not uncommon - Cowper and the Yardley oak - The religionist's fear of nature - Pantheistic Christianity - Survival of nature-worship in England - The feeling for nature - Wordsworth's pantheism and animistic emotion in poetry

CHAPTER XVIII THE NEW SCHOOLMASTER

Mr. Trigg recalled - His successor - Father O'Keefe - His mild rule and love of angling - My brother is assisted in his studies by the priest - Happy fishing afternoons - The priest leaves us - How he had been working out his own salvation - We run wild once more - My brother's plan for a journal to be called _The Tin Box_ - Our imperious editor's exactions - My little brother revolts - _The Tin Box_ smashed up - The loss it was to me

CHAPTER XIX BROTHERS

Our third and last schoolmaster - His many accomplishments - His weakness and final breakdown - My important brother - Four brothers, unlike in everything except the voice - A strange meeting - Jack the Killer, his life and character - A terrible fight - My brother seeks instructions from Jack - The gaucho's way of fighting and Jack's contrasted - Our sham fight with knives - A wound and the result - My feeling about Jack and his eyes - Bird-lore - My two elder brothers' practical joke

CHAPTER XX BIRDING IN THE MARSHES

Visiting the marshes - Pajonales and juncales - Abundant bird life - A coots' metropolis - Frightening the coots - Grebe and painted snipe colonies - The haunt of the social marsh hawk - The beautiful jacana and its eggs - The colony of marsh trupials - The bird's music - The aquatic plant durasmillo - The trupial's nest and eggs - Recalling a beauty that has vanished - Our games with gaucho boys - I am injured by a bad boy - The shepherd's advice - Getting my revenge in a treacherous manner - Was it right or wrong?

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