Bob Knight's diary on a farm

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Bob Knight's diary on a farm

Material Information

Bob Knight's diary on a farm with sketches by Bob
Series Title:
Bob Knight's diary series
Smith, Charlotte Curtis (author)
Place of Publication:
New York
E.P. Dutton & company
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
1 online resource (248 pages)


Subjects / Keywords:
Diary fiction -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Boarding schools -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Diaries -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
serial ( sobekcm )


Original Version:
Volume 4

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
The University of South Florida Libraries believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries.
Resource Identifier:
029222182 ( ALEPH )
00489808 ( OCLC )
B37-00003 ( USFLDC DOI )
b37.3 ( USFLDC Handle )

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Copyright, 1911 BY E. P. DUTTON & COMPANY




ll-.lfA ; o _. .. BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY us to sit on, he said: some of my fish." Saturday, July 20. IT was dark when Poky and I reached the Hermit's hut. We saw the light in the window as we entered the woods, and we ran like sixty all the way there. The old man was eating his sup per. "How are you, boys?" he said, shaking hands with us. Then drawing a box up to the table for "You' re just in time for I


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Thank you, I'm hungry as a tramp," said I, sitting on the box. Poky sat down beside me, saying: "Thanks, Mr. Hermit. How's the fishing round here?" "First rate, I caught these perch this after noon in Owl Creek," said the Hermit, helping Poky to a plateful of fish. "Three cheers for Owl Creek! I will go a fishing Monday morning," said Poky, eating the perch bones, heads and tails. "Where's Jerry?" the Hermit asked. "We parted from him at Buffalo. He went home, because his father sent for him," I an swered "Well, boys, how did you like the circus ? Tell me about it," said the Hermit. Poky was so busy eating fish that I began telling about Vic and Sancho and Tramp, and about my clown-act in the Show. "What! A clown?" he exclaimed. "I most certainly was," I proudly acknowl edged. The old man of the woods shook his head, saying: "Bob, you must have higher ambi tions than to be a clown "A clown is all right," I told him. "No, no, Bob," said the old man, still 2


BO. B KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM shaking his head, "I want you to go to work." "Work!" I cried. "Why, you ought to see Vic and me in the circus, we worked harder than any two men in the Rawling Brothers Show." Poky had cleared the platter of fish by this time, so he sang out: "Whew! How I worked beating that drum! I was the whole band." "We're going back to the circus," I said. The old man shook his head, saying: "No, no, no, boys, you must let that show business alone and go to work. I want you to go to work on a farm until school begins. There's a little place of thirty-nine acres the other side of these woods, just the size for you two boys to run." "Where is it?" I asked, for I love farming. "North of here," the Hermit answered, pointing over his shoulder. "Does Owl Creek run anywhere near it?" Poky asked. The Hermit nodded his head, saying: "Yes, the creek runs across the farm and around the house and barns." "Hurrah!" cried Poky, "that's the farm for 3


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM me. I can fish out of the windows of the house." The Hermit and Poky talked a long time about the farm, but I was so homesick for the circus, I could not take any interest in the farm. When bed-time came, the Hermit swung two hammocks in the trees for Poky and me. We tumbled into them, and the minute I fell asleep I began dreaming of Vic and Sancho and Tramp. And I dreamed all night of Rawling Brothers' Circus. Sunday, July 2r. WHEN I awoke and found myself in the woods by the Hermit's hut, I was so disap pointed I immediately decided to run away and join the circus business for life. Poky was up and had gone down to the creek to wash his face. I went to the creek and told him my plans. "Don't you do it, Bob. Wait till Tony gets up his show, then we'll go with him," said Poky. The Hermit came along with his hat full of berries, saying: "Boys, I've been gathering a breakfast for you." cried Poky. "Let me 4


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM make 'em, will you?" Grabbing the hat, he ran to the hut. I was going to tell my plans to the Hermit when a cat peeked through the bushes. "Hello! been hunting, have you?" the Hermit said. I instantly recognized my cat, and I leaped forward to catch her. But she scudded out of sight. "She isn't used to strangers. Keep still and I'll call her," said the Hermit, giving a long sharp whistle. The cat bounded out of the bushes and jumped on the Hermit's shoulder. In a sec ond another cat came from the bushes and 5


B B KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A F ARM jumped on his other shoulder. "Tige and Pussy !" I exclaimed. "The very same cats. They are my old friends, my comrades, I couldn't live without them," said the old man of the woods, strok ing the fur of his pets. I was so pleased to see my cat that I forgot to tell the Hermit about my plan of joining the circus. At first Puss did not know me, but I talked to her and stroked her head, then she began to purr, and to rub against my legs in a familiar way. The Hermit went to the hut, and m a few minutes Poky called: "Breakfast, Bob. Hurry up." I started for the hut, the two cats following me. 6


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM When Poky saw us coming, he said: "Mr. Hermit, I see you've got the same old cats." "Don't you recognize our Puss?" I asked him. "Sure enough!" he exclaimed. Then he stopped baking flapjacks a minute to play with Puss. We ate outside under the trees on a box. "Well, this seems like camping," I said. "How are my flapjacks?" Poky asked. "Tip-top. Just like the ones you made at Camp Ska-no-da-ri-o," I told him. "Thanks, Bob, you're a first-rate judge of camp grub," Poky said, with a grin. It was the first blueberry-flapjacks the Hermit had ever eaten, and he smacked his lips every time he took a fresh one. That pleased Poky, and he said: "Say, Mr. Hermit, if I'll do your cooking, will you let me live with you the rest of the summer?" "You and Bob are always welcome to the shelter of my little hut in the woods," the Hermit replied. "Oh, good! I'll live with you forever and ever," cried Poky. 7


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "But I have better plans for you," said the Hermit. "What can be better?" Poky asked "Why, the little farm," said the Hermit. "Oh, yes, I forgot about that farming business. Well, perhaps that will be as much fun as living in the woods," said Poky. The two cats had been sitting on the ground beside the Hermit, patiently waiting for their breakfast, and when they saw him get up from the table, they began to mew. "Oh, yes, Tige and Puss, I came near for getting you, Poky's flapjacks were so good," said the Hermit, pouring some milk in a basin for his pets. Poky and I washed the dishes in the creek. "We don't have to wash the cat's pan, they always lick it clean," he said, winking at me. Nevertheless I saw him wash it and put it on the shelf in the hut with the clean dishes. I was thinking about Prof. and Mrs. Kane, when Poky sang "I'm crazy to see Ray and Roy. Let's go over to the school right away, quick." We could not go to church, because we did not have anything but circus clothes, and we 8


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM thought it would not be proper to wear them to church. The Hermit, Poky, and I started for Poplar Hill School. As we walked Indian-file through the woods, I thought of the many times I had tramped that path, and I recalled the time I P o L L ran away from school and went to the Hermit's hut. I'm a great deal wiser now than I was then. I feel almost as big as Vic, since I was a clown in one of the Biggest Shows in 9


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM the World. I have not told the Hermit yet about my going back to the circus. He is so kind to Poky and me I don't like to tell him my plans. Perhaps I'll say something to him about them this afternoon. When came in sight of the school, Poky and I called, "Hoo-hoo, hoo-hoo." Polly was at one of the up-stairs windows, and she sang out: "How are you, boys? Glad to see you." "We're all right. How are you, Polly?" I answered. "We're circus actors," Poky said, strutting along like a drum major. "Aw' is that so? Well, you look it," she said, smiling at us. Just then who should come bounding out of the long grass and weeds but old dog Rover. IO


B B KNIGH1'S DIARY ON A FARM Poky and I made a dash for the dog, and we hugged him till he coughed. Poky said: "Say, old fellow, did you miss me?" Rover wagged his tail and whined just as he always does when he is pleased. Prof. and Mrs. Kane, and the twins were spending the summer at the seashore, so we did not see them. But we went to the barn and saw old Doll. She whinnied, when we went into her stall, to tell us she knew we were Poky and Bob. Kii, yii, yii, yii how we boys love that white horse. Poky and I skirmished all over the place. When we came to the front gate we saw the boys' initials on the gate-post. "Gingo !" cried Poky, "I remember the day w e fell ows cut our lett e r s the r e II


BOB Kl:'HGHT ; S DIARY ON A FARM "So do I. It was the last day of school," said I. "Just before we went to Troy to meet Tony and the circus," said Poky. "Don't mention circus to me, I'm crazy to go back to it," I told Poky. "So am I," said Poky, "but I don't see any chance of going back to it, do you?" "No," said I, and we walked along. Polly did not ask us to stay for dinner, so the Hermit, Poky, and I went back to the hut. In the afternoon Poky and I went to Owl Creek and saw our boat The Bullfrog. The instant we laid eyes on her, we yelled: "Kii, yii, yii, yii The Bullfrog! We're the fellows that built The Bullfrog! Rah, rah, rah! The Bullfrog!" 12


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM We hunted in the rushes and found the oars, then we shoved her off and set her afloat on Owl Creek. Towing her along the bank, we jumped in. "I tell you what!" said Poky, pulling away at the oars, "this seems natural. Owl Creek is a pretty nice place after all. Let's be her mits and forget all about the circus." I did not answer him. Then Poky said: "Bob, you remember our pledge was to be her mits or clowns when we grew up. And as we .can't be clowns, why, let's be hermits. Hey! what do you say?" "Poky,'' said I, "I can't forget Sancho an. d Tramp. I love that donkey and dog." "Forget 'em," said Poky. "I can't, nohow," I told him. "O, pshaw!" cried Poky. "I'll get you an other dog, the country is full of them, running loose everywhere, thicker than grasshoppers. And as for the donkey, I'll get you a calf-" "Oh, stop your nonsense," I cried. "Well, if you don't like a calf, I'll get you-" "You'll get me nothing," I said, for I was cross. Poky kept still. Pretty soon we tied The Bullfrog to a tree and went back to the Her13


BOB KNIGHT 'S IARY O N A FARM mit's. He gav e Pol y a pail and sent him to Poplar Hill School for milk. I made a fire and cooked some cornmeal mush. I made a big kettleful, and we ate till the frogs began to croak. "Plague take the frogs!" cried Poky, "I should think they d get tired of singing." "Guess not," said the Hermit, "they have kept singing ever since April. I like to hear them, they're pleasant company of a summer evening, real good friends of mine." "Mr. Hermit, I suppose you have to love such things, because you haven't anything el s e to love," said Poky. "I love everythin g that is alive," replied the old man of the woods. 14


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Snakes? Poky asked. "Yes, snakes," said the Hermit. "They won't hurt you, if you let them alone : 'Tain't safe to step on a snake s tail with your bare foot," said Poky, shaking his head. "I tried it once." "Well, what happened?" the Hermit asked. "Oh, my!" cried Poky, "I'd got bitten, if I hadn't jumped six feet in the air and yelled like a loon. You see I scart the snake stiff, and he ran away like lightning." "Ha-ha-ha," laughed the Hermit. "Poky, you're good at telling snake stories. Poky and I did not wash the dishes. We anchored them in the creek with stones and let them soak till morning. The Hermit began talking about that farm he wants Poky and me to work. "Boys," he said, "you couldn't do b e tter tha n to learn to be farmers." "Why aren't you one now? Poky a s ked. I gave Poky a poke in the ribs with my elbow. We were lying on the ground. I thought he might offend our old friend. "For a ".ery good reason, I don t own one; and for another reason, I'm too old to work on one now," the Hermit replied. 15


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "But you were young once," said Poky. "Yes, my boy, I was, and I was born on a farm, but I took to the woods," said the Hermit. "Tell us about yourself," Poky said. "Not now. Some time I will. Now we're talking about farming. It's the best business there is; you'll always have a home, and you can be as independent as a king-" the Hermit told us. "Say President of the United States; Bob and I are Americans," said Poky. THE H ERM ... JT "That's right, my boy," said the Hermit, "we're all Americans." 16


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Then Poky asked how far the farm was. "You remember the haunted house, don't you?" "Jimminy crickets! yelled Poky, jumping on to his feet, "you don't mean for us to live there, do you?" "No, no," said the Hermit. "I was going to say that the farm is just beyond that house." "Spooks will be after us at night," said Poky, shivering. "Nonsense, boy," said the Hermit, "you know there is no such thing as spooks. Peo ple are living in that house now." "Boo!" cried Poky, "I wouldn't live there." "To-morrow we'll go to see the farm," said the Hermit, getting up and going toward the hut. Poky and I knew it was time for us to swing up our hammocks, so we said "Good-night" to the Hermit. He sleeps on a shelf in his hut. Monday July 22. WHEN the roosters began to crow at day light, I was awakened by an animal jumping on me. I had been dreaming of the circus, so, 17


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM of course, I thought it was one of the monkeys, but when I remembered I was in the woods, I thought it must be a loon or a skunk. I held my breath .and listened And what do you think I heard? A purring noise. I opened my eyes and saw my Puss looking at me. Maybe, I wasn't glad to see her. "Hollo, Puss! You scart the life out of me, almost," I cried, taking her under the blanket. She cuddled down beside me, and we went to sleep. When I awoke the second time, Poky was up, helping the Hermit build a fire. The Hermit has a stove in the hut, but in summer he cooks on a fireplace made of a few stones near the creek. Puss and I crawled out just in time for the oatmeal. Tige came from the woods. Then the Hermit, Poky, Tige, Puss, 18


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM and I sat down on the ground around the fire and ate breakfast. It seemed early, so I asked the Hermit what time it was. "Six o'clock," he told me. "What makes you get up so early, you don't have anything in particular to do?" Poky asked. "I have to gather some of the herbs when the dew is on them," the Hermit replied. "Oh, yes, I forgot you hunted herbs for a living," said Poky. "Yes, that is what I do in the summertime, and in the winter I trap muskrats, coons, and skunks," the Hermit told us. "That's what I call fun! Let's be Hermits, Bob, and let the farm go to grass," cried Poky, slamming his tin cup on the ground I had not forgotten the circus, so I said: "You can be a hermit if you want to, but I'm going to be a clown." The Hermit winked at Poky, saying: "Wait till Bob sees the farm he'll change his mind." "I don't think so," said I. "Well, come along, and we'll find out," said the Hermit, starting for the farm. Poky and I went along with him. As I went through the woods, I kept think-19


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM ing of the circus and wondering what Vic and the rest of the fellows were doing, and did Sancho and Tramp miss me? I forgot where we were going till we climbed a fence, and the Hermit said: "This is the farm, boys." "What!" cried Poky, "these and the woods and the creek and the orchard?" "Yes," said the Hermit. "Where's the house?" Poky asked. "We'll see it in a minute, it's the other side of the orchard," the Hermit said. We followed along the creek, and pretty soon we saw the house. "Kii, yii, yii, yii !"yelled Poky, making a dash across the yard. The house was vacant, and the doors were 20


BOB KNIGHT1S DIARY ON A FARM not locked so we went in and ran all over it, hooting like wild Indians. "I wonder are there any rats up there," said Poky, looking up the stairway. Then he called: "Hoo-hoo hoo-hoo !" And said: "I'll scare them, if there are any." We heard a scampering of little feet, and Poky jumped away from the door, saying: "Hear 'em? There're more than a million. Let's not sleep here nights, we can go back to the Hermit's when it gets dark." Just them the Hermit came in and Poky told him about the rats. "Rats!" said the old man, "there are no rats in this house; what you hear are squirrels." "Oh! I'm not afraid of squirrels," said Poky, running up the stairs. But he did not see any, for the little shy creatures had run and hid when they heard him coming. "I'll get acquainted with the rascals, if I come here to live," said Poky, coming downstairs. "How do you like the house?" the Hermit asked us. "It's all right," said Poky, going from the kitchen into the sitting room and into the par lor. :;JI


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "It suits me," said I. Then I asked: "Where do we sleep?" "Upstairs," said the Hermit. I ran up the stairs and looked out of the win dow. When, I came down I found Poky opening all the cupboard-doors. "Pshaw!" he cried, "I can't find anything to eat." "There's a well outside, go and get a drink," said the Hermit. We all went outside in the yard, and the Hermit drew a bucket of water for us to drink. "That's first-class water," said Poky, drinking two glasses of it. Then we went with the Hermit to see the barn. Poky and I gave one wild whoop and went stamping into it like a team of horses. "Bob," cried Poky, "this beats the show busi-22


BOB KNIGHT' S DIARY ON A FARM ness all holler. Let's keep a horse and a cow, and oh! everything." "Where are we going to get the money to buy the animals? We haven't one animal to start with," I told him. "We have, we've got a cat. The Hermit will give us Puss to start with. Maybe, she'll bring us luck," said Poky. The Hermit heard us talking, and said: "See here, boys, I'll give you a start. I'll buy you a cow and a pig and some hens, and you can pay me when you get the farm started and begin to sell things." We thanked him. Then Poky asked where we could keep the pig. "In there," said the Hermit, pointing to a cute little pigpen. Poky and I went in and examined the build-23


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM ing. We found it clean and in good order. A pane of glass was broken in the window, but that is easily mended. "There's a good stout button to fasten the door," said Poky. "A very convenient little pen, said I. "Here's the henroost," said the Hermit, pointing to another little building. Poky and I went in and found a hole in the roof and three panes of glass broken in the win dows. "This place needs repairing,'' said I. The Hermit heard me, and answered: "Boys, I'll put the building in good shape for your hens." "Thanks. It needs it,'' said Poky. I thanked the Hermit and asked who owned the farm and how much we'd have to pay for it. 24


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "You needn't pay any rent, but we'll pay the back taxes. The man who owns the place has gone West. He claimed he couldn't make farming pay here, so he went away and left the farm to the woodchucks and weeds." "And to us boys," shouted Poky. "Hurrah," I shouted. "We'll take the farm and show that man how to run it. See if we don't!" Instantly I became interested in that farm. We went with the Hermit back to his hut, and all the way through the woods we talked about farming. In the afternoon Poky said: "Oh, dear, I wish we had a little money." I had been thinking of the same thing, so I said: "I'm going to write to Jerry, perhaps his father will let him come to live on the farm with us." "Yes, write to him," said Poky. I immediately wrote a letter to Jerry. This is the letter : "The Hermit's Hut in the Woods, "July 22. "My dear Jerry,"How are you? Don't you wish that you were with Rawling Brothers' Circus? Poky and I did till 25


BOB KNIGHT'S DIAnY ON A FARM the Hermit took us to a little farm and told u s we must live there and earn our living for the rest of the summer. Now we want you to come and live with us and help us work the farm. Ask your father if you can come. Tell him the Hermit is going to be our boss. And tell him Poplar Hill School is just the other side of the woods. Tell him it is a very healthy place in the country right near the Erie Canal. Tell him the Hermit is going to buy us a cow, a pig, and some hens, and we are going to pay him back when we sell things. Do come. Answer this letter by return mail. "Your friend, "Bon KNIGHT. "P. S. Don't forget to bring a little money. We will pay you back with interest." I showed the letter to the Hermit, and he laughed. When I let Poky see it, he said: "That will bring Jerry, sure." Poky and I had two cents, he had one and I had one, so we set off to Poplarport to mail the letter. We were walking along the main street, when all of a sudden we heard Cheap John calling to us : "I say, boys, how's the circus?" Poky called back: "I beat the big drum, and Bob was the clown."


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Good! Glad to see you back, come in and see me." Poky answered: "Can't. We've got only two cents, and we must buy a postage-stamp for a very important letter. We'll call on you when we've made some money on our farm." "What farm?" he asked. "The farm where nobody lives, t' other side of Owl Creek and this side of the Erie Canal," Poky told him. "What! Spratt's old thistle-patch?" Cheap John shouted at us. We were too far away to answer him, for we were walking fast to mail the letter. I bought the stamp, and Poky stuck it on to the envelope. On our way back we caught a ride with Mr. Ashford. He was tickled to death to see Poky and me, and when we told him about our farm, he hollered fit to scare the crows. "Boys,'' said he, "I'll give you a young pig an.d a couple of hens and a rooster for a starter." "That's just what we want for our pigpen and henroost. Much obliged,'' said Poky. "That's very kind of you," I said. Poky told him what the Hermit was going to do for us, and Mr. Ashford said: "Boys, 27


BOB KNIGHT S DIARY ON A FARM you're making a right start in life. Farming is the best business a boy can go into." "That's my opinion," said I. When he left us at the woods, he said: "I'll bring the pig and hens over this evening after supper." "Much obliged. We'll be at our farm to welcome them," I told him. When we got back to the Hermit's hut, we told him of Mr. Ashford's generous gift. "Well, boys," said the Hermit, it begins to look like farming, doesn't it? "It certainly does," said I. Poky and I were so excited we could not eat any supper. We drank our mush and milk and started for our farm. We carried our hammocks, for we were going to sleep there 28


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM to protect our pig and hens from tramps and foxes. When Mr. Ashford drove into our yard with our pig and our two hens and our rooster, he said: "Here's your live stoc:k, boys." Poky and I shouted: "Who's our friend? Mr. Ashford, Mr. Ashford I Rah, rah, rah I Mr. Ashford!" Then we helped him put the pig in the pig pen and our fowls in the henroost. There are wooden buttons on the doors, and we fastened them up tight. Mr. Ashford wanted to see our house, so we took him through it. "Where are you going to sleep? I don't see any bed," he said. "Oh, we'll swing our hammocks somewhere for to-night," I told him. "Humph! I guess you won't sleep much," he said. "Yes, we shall. We're used to traveling with the circus, so we can sleep upside-down, or any way," I said. "Circus!" exclaimed Mr. Ashford, looking at us over his spectacles. "Do you mean to 29


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM say that you Poplar Hill boys ever had any thing to do with a circus?" "Yes, sir," I answered. Mr. Ashford shook his head, saymg: "Sorry to hear that, boys, sorry to hear that." Poky was scared stiff. And, thinking Mr. Ashford might take back the pig and fowls, said: "Oh, Mr. Ashford, we learned all about how to take car e of animals." "Pigs and hens?" Mr. Ashford asked. "Well, not exactly, but animals very much like them," Poky answered. I did not want to off end our good friend, so I tried to explain how we came to join a cir cus. Mr. '.Ashford listened to what I had to say, then replied: "Well, I'm glad you've quit that heathenish business and settled down to farming the rest of the summer." "For the rest of our lives," I told him. That seemed to please him, and he drove away thinking that we boys were all right, in spite of our having traveled with the circus. We went to the henroost to see whether our poultry was safe for the night, for it was grow ing dark. Then I said, "We'd better find a 30


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM place for our hammocks. Shall we sleep in the house or in the barn?" "I'm going to sleep in the pigpen, for I'm sure that pig will be lonesome in its new quar ters," said Poky, starting on a run for the pig pen. "Nonsense! Come back," I called to him. But he ran the faster" saying: "Bob, you sleep with our poultry." Po I swung my hammock between two cherry trees and curled up in it. But I did not go to sleep; I lay and listened to the noises all around me in the dark. I never knew before how noisy the night is. The frogs hooted and hol lered, the mosquitoes hummed and buzzed and bit my face and hands and ankles, and some ani mal kept tapping the trunk of the cherry-trees, and I heard something walking around in the house. How could a fell ow sleep? But I did 31


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM go to sleep, for after awhile I was awakened by Poky tumbling into my hammock. "What are you trying to do?" I asked him. "Oh, Bob, that pig snored so loud I couldn't stand it," he said, trying to lie down beside me. I shoved along to make room for him, and the hammock turned over, tumbling us head first onto the ground. "What's the matter, anyhow?" cried Poky, jumping up and feeling around in the dark for me. I grabbed hold of him, and we laughed for five minutes. "Farming is worse than camping," declared Poky, when he stopped laughing. "Aw! This isn't farming," I told him. "Wait till we get settled in our house and begin planting and hoeing and raking and mowing our land." "That's all true. But where are we going to spend the rest of the night?" he asked. "Let's crawl under that pine-tree where it is dry," I suggested. Just then our rooster crowed. "Hollo!" cried Poky, "our rooster is alive and happy. I think I'll go under the tree and sleep until morning." So we lay on the ground the rest of the night. 32


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Tuesday, July 23. OuR rooster woke us up at daylight, crowing fit to split his throat. Roosters on the farms all around us were answering him. I suppose some of them were his brothers at Mr. Ash ford's. "Bob," said Poky, "that rooster reminds me of old Sunrise, the rooster we had at Camp. Let's never kill him." "Certainly, we are not going to kill him,'' I told Poky. While we were lying there talking, I felt something hit my face. Looking up through the branches of the tree, I saw a squirrel with a cone in its paws, peeling off the outside and eating the seeds. Poky exclaimed: "Isn't he a beauty! I 33


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM think he is one of our squirrels from our house, don't you?" "Yes, we must tame those squirrels," I said, getting up so as to get a better look at him. "That's just what we'll do," said Poky. As we had nothing else to give our pig and poultry for breakfast, we pulled a lot of green grass and filled the pen and roost with it, and we put fresh water in old tin pans for them to drink. Then we washed ourselves in Owl Creek and started through the woods for the Hermit's hut. Our old friend expected us, I know, for he had a big kettle of oatmeal boiling on th e outdoor fireplace. And he said : "Well, farmers, how goes everything at your place?" "Lively," said Poky, "our rooster beats all the rogsters in the neighborhood crowing. He crows six times to their once. Doesn't that show that he is a thoroughbred?" "That looks promising," replied the Hermit, handing Poky a bowl of oatmeal and milk. When he handed me mine, he said: "Bob, after breakfast we'll go over to Mr. Jackson's farm after a cow-" "Our cow?" I asked. The Hermit nodded his head. 34


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Good!" cried Poky. "That sounds like business." Immediately after breakfast we set off through the woods and across Prof. Kane's pasture and Mr. Ashford's cornfield to Farmer Jackson's. We found him in the barnyard, watering his horses. "Hollo !" said he, "are these the young farmers?" Poky and I took off our caps and bowed. The Hermit said: "Yes, Mr. Jackson, these are the boys I was telling you about." "Glad to hear you are going to be farmers," he said, leading his horses to the stable. Then he called: "Come along, boys, your cow is in the cow-stable. I left her there this morning so she would be handy for you to see." Poky and I went in and looked the cow over and pronounced her in first-class order. I con sider myself a pretty good judge of animals since my experience with the circus. I noted that her hide was smooth and glossy, and that is one sign that she is in good condition. So Sam, the driver of the twelve-in-hand, told me about horses. And I suppose the same rule applies to cows. Poky looked in the cow's mouth to see how 35


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM old she was, and exclaimed: "Cracky She's lost all her upper teeth; she must be a hundred years old !" Mr. Jackson laughed, saying: "Poky, you've got a heap to learn about running a farm. Don t you know that cows never have any upper front teeth?" "No, sir, I never did," replied Poky, staring OvR Cow at the cow. And when he got over his surprise, he said: "I suppose cows are made with out front teeth to keep them from biting peo ple." The Hermit and Mr. Jackson laughed. 36


BOB 'KNIGHT'S DIARY O N A FARM I said, "Horns are the cow's weapons of de fense; she doesn't need to bite." "Oh, that's so. I forgot about her horns," said Poky. "Do you boys know how to milk?" Mr. Jack son asked us. "Yes, siree," said Poky. "I've milked Prof. Kane's cow all my life." "I'm glad to hear it," said Mr. Jackson. I did not see the Hermit give Mr. Jackson any money, so I suppose they had settled that question beforehand. Mr. Jackson untied the cow and handed the halter to me. Poky and I took turns leading her to our farm. Mr. Jackson called: "Take good care of the cow, boys." "Yes, Mr. Jackson, we'll take the best of care of her, I answered. The Hermit went with us to our farm. The cow could not walk fast, so we did not get there till noon. "What are we going to have for dinner?" I asked. "Milk the cow," suggested Poky. "No, no, no," cried the Hermit, "you mustn't 37


BOB KNIGHT, S DIARY ON A FARM milk in the middle of the day, only in the morning and evening." Poky giggled and said: "Oh, I was only fooling. I know all about cows and the time to milk them." I took the halter off the cow and turned her into the pasture. Then I looked around on our farm for something to eat. I could not see anything but quack-grass, burdocks, wild carrot, and sorrel. I must confess that I felt discouraged. Just at that minute Poky came out of the henrocist with two big white eggs in his hands, yelling at the top of his voice: "Bob, Bob, look what we've got for dinner!" Oh! didn't those eggs look good to me. Then I thought of the Hermit, and said: "There are only two eggs for the three of us What shall we do?" "Never mind me, I'm used to going without my meals," the Hermit very kindly said. "We'll share them with you gladly," said I. Poky and I gathered chips and made a fire on the ground and boiled the eggs in the hens' drinking pan. We invited the Hermit to din ner, but he said he was too busy to eat. Poky 38


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM and I ate the eggs, and when we had finished them we were still hungry. Poky said: "I wish we could eat the shells." "Put them in the roost, the hens will eat them," the Hermit told us. "That's so," said Poky, running with the shells to the coop. After awhile we let the poultry out to pick up bugs and worms, because we did not have anything to feed them. And we let the pig out to eat grass. The Hermit spent the afternoon with us, telling us what we had got to do on our farm. At sunset Poky milked the cow, and I shut up the pig and poultry, giving them some warm milk. We took the rest of the milk to the Hermit's and ate our supper there. It was pitch dark when we had finished eating. Poky looked in the direction of our farm, saymg: "Bob, we ought to go back, hadn't we?" "Boys, stay here all night," said the Hermit. Poky and I thanked him, and, as we did not have our hammocks, we slept on the ground under the pines. 39


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Wednesday, July 24. I AWOKE when the birds began to sing. "Poky," said I, punching him in the ribs, "wake up, we're farmers." "Aw! let me be, I'm a hermit," he growled. I jumped up and shook myself, saying: "I'm going over to our farm to milk the cow." Up jumped Poky, saying: "Hold on, Bob, wait for me. I'm going to milk that cow my self." Poky and I took the Hermit's milk pail and ran like a team of horses all the way to our farm. Our stock heard us coming, and the cow mooed, the pig squealed, and the fowls cackled and crowed. While Poky milked the cow, I let the pig and fowls out to eat grass, and we gave them some warm milk before we started back to the Hermit's. When we were eating breakfast, he said: "Boys, I've been thinking out a plan to give you a start in your farming. I'm going to ask the farmers around here to give you some of their old scythes and rakes and hoes and spades. A farmer can just as well spare old tools as not. And, perhaps the women have some old 40


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM chairs and tables and beds up garret to give you." "We don't want to beg for anything. Give us time and we'll earn it all ourselves," I told him. "Asking your friends for things they don't want to use isn't begging," the Hermit said. "Well," said I, "I suppose it will take us all summer to earn our tools." "Course it will. We'd better borrow a few," he said. After breakfast the Hermit went calling on his neighbors. Poky and I went to our farm. We took a quart of milk for our luncheon, and when we got to the farm we hung the pail down the well to keep the milk fresh. The Hermit had told us to pull up wild carrot in the garden, so we went to work at the weeds. The hens and rooster followed us, scratching in the earth for worms. And the pig went grunting after us, looking for something to eat. At ten o'clock the hens went to the henroost. An hour later they came out, cackling madly. "Hurrah! Our hens have laid their eggs," cried Poky, running to the henroost. When he came out he had two eggs. "Here's our din ner," he shouted.


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM I looked at the sun and knew it was not noon, so I said: "It isn't time for dinner yet." "Let's eat the eggs while they are warm, then we won't have the bother of boiling' them," Poky said, holding the warm eggs against his face. "Aw! Come along and help me weed the garden," I told him. Poky put the eggs under a burdock-leaf and then began pulling wild carrot. The garden is full of the pesky weed. In a few minutes he sang out: "Say, Bob, girls call this weed 'Queen Ann's Lace,' but we farmers don't put any such fancy name on it, do we?" "No, and girls wouldn't, if they had to pull it," I replied. "Girls don't have to work for a living, do they?" said Poky. "Not as we boys do," I answered. "They're lucky," sighed Poky, pulling weeds as fast as he could make his hands go. In a few minutes he sang out: "Say, Bob, when's noontime coming?" I was hot and tired, so I said: "Let's eat our dinner, it's nearly noon." "All right," said Poky, starting on a run to-42


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM ward the well to get the pail of milk. I gathered a few chips and was lighting a fire when he came back. "Say, Bob," said he, "let's scramble the eggs, they'll go farther. I'm terrible hungry." "We haven't a dish or kettle to cook them in," I said. "I know a way," said Poky, dumping the water out of the hens' drinking-pan and lining it with a burdock-leaf. "Now," said he, "put in the milk and eggs, and I'll stir them with a stick. Hurrah! Who says we farmers can't have scrambled eggs for our dinner to-day!" The burdock-leaf worked like a charm. Being green, it did not burn, and it kept the egg stuff from touching the old rusty pan. We used burdock-leaves for plates and ate with clean white chips. I never ate a better dinner in my life. Poky ate so much it made him lazy, he did not want to work the rest of the after noon. "Let's take a snooze," he proposed, rolling over on the grass under a pear-tree. The sun was shining so hot, I thought I would lie down for a few minutes. I fell asleep and the first thing I knew someone was calling: "Hollo, there!" 43


.BOB KNIGHT' S D IARY O N A FARM I sat up and saw a man standing by the or chard fence. "Have you boys seen a swarm of bees round this place? he asked me. No I have not," I replied. Poky woke up, asking: Bees? What kind of bees bumblebees?" Honeybees," the man told him. No, sir," said Poky, "there's nothing round our farm but bumble. "\ bees and grasshoppers '(' ''t \ \\' 1 "Is this your farm?" t v \ 1 \ 1 the man asked. THE B "Yes, sir," said Poky, r: -MA N Bob and I are going to run it." Seems to me it's pretty late in the season to begin farming," the man said. "We're getting it ready for next year," I told him, walking toward the fence, for I thought if this man was our neighbor, we'd better get acquainted and be on friendly terms. Squint ing one eye at me, he said : "Do you two boys think you re smart enough to make a living on a farm that Pete Spratt left to grow up to weeds? 44


BOB KNIGHT' S DIARY ON A FARM "The Hermit says we can," I replied. "And we do, too," put in Poky. "Well, you young farmers better get to work, you haven't time to waste in sleeping under the trees," the man said, walking away. "Hollo, sir! What's your name?" Poky called to the man Without turning around he answered: "Cy Barney. I live in the cobblestone house on the north road." "Humph!" said Poky, to me, "I' ve seen his house; it's a lonesome-looking place." I looked at the sun, and said: "It's about four o clock. We'd better work till six." "That's so, if we're going to make a success of this farm," Poky answered We two went to pulling wild carrot again in the garden, and we worked until it was time to milk the cow. Poky milked, and I shut up the fowls and the pig. Then we started for the Hermit's hut. On our way, I said: "I wish we had a little cornmeal for our hens, we ought to feed them well, they are such gen erous layers. If I only had some money." Poky said: "That reminds me of Jerry. Say Bob, you carry the milk to the Hermit, and I'll run down to the postoffice." 45


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM I took the pail, and away went Poky across lots to Poplarport. The Hermit was not at the hut when I got there, so I built a fire and started the supper. It was dark when he came, and Poky got back just as supper was ready. He had a postal card from Jerry. We read it by the light of the fire. This is what he wrote: "Dear Bob,"Look for me Saturday afternoon at 5 :Jo. "Yours, "JERRY GREEN, ESQ." "Biff, Bang, Boom!" yelled Poky. "Jerry is business," said I. "Glad he is coming," said the Hermit. "He'll be great at pulling wild carrot weeds," said Poky. "He'll make a capital farmer," I prophesied. "Boys," said the Hermit, "I've succeeded in getting you some hoes, rakes, and spades. Tomorrow you can begin loosening up the earth in the garden." "That'll be easier than pulling weeds, won't it, Bob?" said Poky, clapping his hands. The Hermit said: "Boys, you mustn't get 46


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM discouraged. There's always a lot of hard work on a farm." "We're not discouraged, Wf only want a change of work. We're tired of weeding," I explained. "Oh, you boys will soon get used to farm work," the Hermit said. He is our friend, that is certain. We did not go to our farm. We slept at the Hermit's under the pines. Thursday, July 25. WHEN we awoke this morning the rain was coming down through the leaves of the trees into our faces like sixty. "I'm glad it is raining," said Poky, "we won't have to pull those pesky weeds to-day." "I'd like to get straightened out a little before Jerry comes," I said. "He's got to help us work, he needn't think he's going to be the boss," said Poky. "Jerry'll play fair," I said. "I'll see that he does," said Poky, taking the milk-pail and starting for our farm. The Hermit went with him. I chopped wood to make a fire for breakfast. 47


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM They were back by the time I had the oatmeal cooked. When we were eating, the Hermit said: "It's going to be a rainy morning, I know it because your hens did not leave the henroost. That's a sure sign. Hens are good weather prophets. They beat us folks all to nothing." "Then Bob and I won't have to pull wild carrot, will we?" Poky asked. "Oh, no," said the Hermit, "there's no use in working in the rain. There'll be plenty of fair days. You'd better stay round here and rest." "I'll chop wood for you under the trees where the rain doesn't come through," I told the Hermit. "I'll help you," said Poky. After breakfast the Hermit left us, saying: "Amuse yourselves, boys, rll be back about noon." Poky and I began splitting wood and piling the sticks near the hut, so they would be handy for the Hermit. At noon the rain let up, and the sun came out hotter than mustard. The Hermit came and, after eating bread and milk, we three started for our farm. When we passed through the pasture, the cow stopped eating grass and looked at us. She is begin-48


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM ning to understand that she belongs to us. We found our garden tools in the barn, and with them was a bag of cornmeal. "Who gave us these things ?" I asked. "Friends," said the Hermit, handing Poky and me each a spade. He said: "This is just the time to spade your garden, the soil will be soft after the rain." I felt like playing ball or racing through the fields, but I did not want to displease our old friend the Hermit, he is doing so much for us fellows, so I took the spade and went whistling to work. Poky whistled, too. We worked in the garden all the afternoon. The hens and the rooster kept us company, following in our tracks, picking up worms and things. The hens clucked all the time, and the rooster crowed every two minutes. I never knew be fore how friendly fowls are. They kept so close to me, I had to be careful not to step on them. I began to feel like a farmer, and I said to Poky: "I feel like a farmer this afternoon." "So do I. Isn't it fun?" said he. "It certainly is," I replied. We did not see much of the Hermit, he was fussing around the house. 49


BOB KNIGBT' S DIARY ON A FARM "I wonder what the Hermit is doing," I re marked, pointing toward the house. "He's stuffing up rat-holes and brushing down spider-webs," said Poky. "We ought to clean our own house," said I. "Oh, let the Hermit do it, if he wants to," said Poky, looking toward the house. At five o'clock we stopped work. Poky milked the cow, and I fed the pig and fowls some cornmeal mixed with water. We were ready to start for the Hermit's woods when I happened to look toward the house and saw smoke coming out of our chimney. Poky saw it, too, and we both started on a run for the kitchen-door. We went in and there we saw a table, four chairs, and a stove with a tea kettle steaming away on it. The Hermit stood in the middle of the room, laughing. "How do you like it, boys?" he asked. 50


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Well, this looks like living!" Poky ex claimed, strutting around the kitchen. "This looks like home,'' I said. "This is your home, boys,'' the Hermit said, smiling, and he could not stop smiling. "How can we ever repay you for all this?" I asked. "Don't want any pay. Just enjoy it all, boys,'' the Hermit replied. Then he told us to bring in the milk, and we would have supper in our own house. We cooked some of the hens' cornmeal and ate it in the milk. While we were eating I asked him who gave us the fur niture. "Friends," was all the Hermit would say. Poky said: "Well, whoever they are, they're pretty good friends. Please thank them a million times for Bob and me." "Thank them for me, too,'' I said. "You haven't seen all,'' said the Hermit, pointing overhead. "What!" cried Poky. "What's upstairs?" "Let's see," said I. And we both raced up stairs on all-fours. In one of the rooms we found a bed all made up with sheets and blankets and pillows, and there were two chairs. 51


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Good!" cried Poky, "we needn't sleep in the woods with the mosquitoes any more." "Or in the rain," said I. "This is keeping house for sure," squealed Poky, dancing a jig. Then we went downstairs and asked the Hermit to stay all night with us. "We'll sleep three in the bed," said Poky. "Much obliged, but I'm used to the woods and my hut. Good night, boys," he said, and started for the woods. Poky set the chairs in a row against the wall, and, pouring hot water in a pan to wash the dishes, said: "I'm tired of being a Hermit in the woods, I'd rather be a farmer and live in a house." I went out to see whether the cow, pig, and fowls were safe for the night. After awhile Poky came out, and we walked around till dark. Then we thought we'd go to bed. We went into the house and hunted around for a match, but we could not find one, so we felt our way upstairs and went to bed in the dark. "Ha-ha!" cried Poky, tumbling into bed. "Isn't this a bird's nest!" "It certainly is," said I, lying down beside him. 52


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "I hope the rats will sleep all night and not go running around, dragging their long tails after them,'' Poky whispered, under the clothes. "Rats!" said I. "There are no rats here. The Hermit said squirrels were up in the gar ret." "They sound like rats, so it's all the same,'' said Poky, nestling up to me. Just then our rooster crowed. Poky jumped almost up to the ceiling, yelling: "Plague take that bird! He scared me almost to death." "Go to sleep,'' I told him. In a few minutes we were asleep, and we did not awake till daybreak, when all the roosters in the neighborhood were crowing. Friday, July 26. The first thing Poky did was to jump out of bed and run to the window. Leaning way out, he called, at the top of his voice: "Good morning, Everybody!" "Hollo, there !" somebody called. I ran to look out and saw the Hermit with a string of perch, coming to take breakfast with us. 53


BOB KNIGHT' S DIARY 0 A FARM "Glad to see you," Poky called, waving his hand. I put on a few clothes and went out on the back porch to wash. .We have a rain-barrel full of rainwater to wash with. When Poky came down he asked me to milk the cow, be cause he wanted to cook the perch and make cornmeal flapjacks. ,..,..-.--. --":;._ 1-/ ERM iT "You haven't any griddle," said I. "I can bake them on top of the stove," he said When I was eating them, I asked: "What kind of flapjacks are these, anyway?" "Henfeed flapjacks. Don't you like 'em?" he asked. 54


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM I'll g ive mine to the hen s," said I, tossing the tough things out of the window. Poky was so bu sy eating that he did not a n swe r. The Hermit enjoyed the flapjacks, as if he were used to eating chickenfeed. After breakfast the Hermit went to get a certain weed that is in blossom just now. He told us that he had to gather most of his herbs when the flowers are on them. He sells the herbs to druggists. That is one way he gets money to buy shoes and clothes with. He knows all about flowers and weeds, and all the green things that grow on the earth. When the Hermit had gone, I said to Poky: "Jerry'll be here to-morrow, we must have the place looking neat and clean. You take the cycle and cut the burdocks and thistles around the dooryara, and I'll take the scythe and mow the long grass." The first thing I did was to cut a wide drive way from the road to the house, for I thought, perhaps, someone might come to see us, and the grass was as high as Poky's head, almost. I was mowing grass with all the strength of a man, when I heard an automobile coming lickety-clip down the road, the horn tooting all the time. I did not look up because I did not SS


. BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM want to take the time from my mowing. And the first thing I knew the buzzing machine was turning into our yard and coming along the wide path I had just cut in the long grass. '\ Someone hollered: "Hollo, Farmer Bob, how are you ?" I looked up and saw a boy jump out of the auto and run toward me. "Don' t you k n o w a fell ow?" he asked. I stood still and stared a t h i m. H e laughed and I sang out, "Jerry!'' Then he laughed again. "How do you expect a fell ow t o recognize y o u with all those togs on?" X asked. "I tried t o fool y o u, Bob," h e a n s w e r e d. is Then nodding h i s head in the direction of the motor-car, he whispered: "Father is in the machine. Come, I'll intro duce you." Ginger I was scared stiff, but I marched forward as brave as a lion. And Jerry said: "Father, this is Bob Knight, my friend of 56


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Poplar Hill School. Bob, this is my father." Mr. Green smiled and held out his hand, saying: "How are you, Bob? I've heard Jerry talk a great deal about you. Glad to meet you." "How do you do, Mr. Green?" was all I said. I was going to say something about being pleased to see him, but he began asking a lot of questions about the farm, so I did not get a chance to say it. Poky was behind the barn, but he heard the "chug-chug-chug" of the machine, and came running toward us, yelling: "Who's threshing machine is that, Bob?" Jerry walked up to him, saying: "Poky, how are you?" Poky stared like a frightened cow. "Don't you know me?" Jerry asked, taking off his goggles. "Fighting Jerry," cried Poky, grabbing Jerry's hand. While Jerry and Poky were talking, I was trying to answer some of Mr. Green's ques tions. Then I told him to put his motor-car in our barn and stay to dinner. Mr. Green thanked me, and said: "Jerry, we'll take a spin around the country and come 57


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM back here this afternoon." But Jerry wanted to stay with us boys, so his father went off, leaving Jerry with us. When his father was out of sight, Poky said: "Jerry, are you going to stay with us and be a farmer ?" "Yes, if father says I may. He's going to look the farm over and see how he likes it,'' Jerry answered. "It's a firs t-c 1 as s farm,'' I t o 1 d h i m. "B u t th e buildings, y o u see, need a little repairing, b u t t h a t doesn't matter. We boys can have a com fortable place to eat and sleep, and that's all we want for the summer." "Is farming hard work?" Jerry asked. "No, just fun," Poky told him. "Do you have lots of good things to eat?" Jerry wanted to know. Poky shook his head, saying: "Not exactly. But we would have, if we had a little money. You see, we haven't sold any crops yet." 58


BOB K IGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Crops!" repeated Jerry. "I don t see anything around here but weeds." "Course, you don't, we have not sowed any seeds yet,'' Poky told him. "What do you live on?" Jerry asked, looking around. "Oh, milk and eggs and flapjacks," said Poky. I thought I'd explain, so I said: "To tell the truth, Jerry, we're hard up just now, conse quently we don't have much to eat, we live as the Hermit does. But in time, things will im prove. We've got a cow, a pig, two hens, and a rooster-" "And we're going to have a cat,'' Poky put m. Jerry thrust his hands down into his pockets and whirled around on one foot, saying: "Oh, well, who cares about things to eat! I'm going to stay with you fellows, if father'll let ine." Poky and I yelled : "Who's all right? Jerry is all right I Jerry, Jerry, Jerry!" He said: "Thanks, boys, thanks. I think it 59


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM will be fun to live on a farm and be our own boss for the rest of the summer." "You're right, it will be," I told him. "We received your postal card," Poky said. "When I wrote," Jerry said, "I intended to come by rail and get here on Saturday. But father decided to come with me to look the land over and see what he thought of my being a farmer." "Come see our stock," I said, taking Jerry to the henroost, pigpen, and pasture. "Can you milk?" Poky asked him. "No, you'll have to teach me," said Jerry, going toward the cow. "We can't milk her now, it isn't time, but I'll show you in a jiffy, at milking-time," Poky told him. While we were in the pasture, we saw the Hermit coming from the woods with his arms full of herbs. "There's my old friend," said Jerry, running across the pasture, and shouting: "How do you do, my good friend? It's a dog's age since I have seen you." "Well, well, my boy Jerry, how are you?" the Hermit answered, shaking hands with Jerry. While the Hermit and Jerry were talking, 6o


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Poky said: "Say, Bob, what are we going to have for dinner ?" I shook my head, because I did not know what to say. "The hens have laid only two eggs, and if Mr. Green comes back, there'll be five of us to eat the two eggs. What shall we do?" Poky asked. I thought a minute, then I said: "Let's take some milk, the two eggs, and some cornmeal and make a whopping big John nycake. What do you say?" "Wow! Just the thing to fill Jerry up with," said Poky. "And we'll have milk to drink," I said, running to the house. Poky helped me stir up the cake and set the table. He also gathered a bouquet of daisie s and put them in a fruit-jar for the center of our table. And the best thing of all was, when the Hermit came into the house, he had his hat full of raspberries. Fortunately we had four chairs, and when we called Jerry and the Hermit, the table looked fit for our friend Fighting Jerry to sit down to. When he came in, he said: "Bob, where is the bathroom? I want to get some of this dust off me." Poky was on the back porch, getting a tea-61


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM kettle of water to wash his dishes with after dinner, and he called: "Right out here, Jerry. I'll get you a fresh pail of water from our rain barrel." "Rain-barrel!" cried Jerry, going out on the porch And I heard him say: "If this doesn't beat camping! Who ever heard of wash-water in a hogshead outside the kitchen door!" "This is real country-life, Jerry. You'll have to get used to it, if you're going to be a genuine farmer," Poky told him. JERRY VvAsHiNG "All right, here goes," said Jerry, taking a basin of water and splashing it on to his face with his hands. "That's the way, you'll make a first-class 62


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM farmer," said Poky, watching Jerry clean up for dinner. When we all sat down to the table, Jerry said: "Well, Bob, this seems like camping, doesn't it?" "Farming beats camping all to smash," I told him. "We're going to make a lot of money," said Poky. "How'll you do it?" Jerry asked. "Selling wheat and oats and corn and pigs and chickens and everything that grows," Poky told him. "Humph! It's too late in the season to raise crops," said Jerry. "What can we raise?" I asked the Hermit. "I'm going to plant turnips in the garden. But you'd better pull and dig weeds this year, so as to get your land ready for crops next year," he said. "Humph! That's not much fun," said Jerry. I kicked his foot under the table and winked at him, whispering at the same time: "We'll have lots of fun fishing, swimming, and playing ball." I think the Hermit heard me, for he said: 63


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Oh, you'll have plenty of time for play. Needn't work all the time." Just then Mr. Green came spinning into the yard. "My, oh, my!" cried Poky. "Here comes Jerry's father, and we've eaten up all the din ner." It was true. There wasn't a crumb left, yet I boldly walked to the door, and said: "Glad to to see you, Mr. Green. W a:lk right in and have some dinner." I held my breath till he answered. Much obliged, Bob, but I had dinner at the Eagle Hotel at Poplarport,'' he replied. Jerry laughed at my nerve in inviting his father to dinner, but Jerry enjoys a good joke. The Hermit said: "I'm afraid Mr. Green thinks we don't have very much to eat by the looks of our garden." "That's so,'' said Poky. We all went outside to see Mr. Green. Jerry introduced the Hermit to his father. The two men shook hands, then Mr. Green invited us to take a ride in the auto. That just suited us fellows. "All aboard," called Mr. Green. And we three fellows piled onto the back seat. The 64


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Hermit sat with Mr. Green. Away we flew up the road like the wind. Poky's hair stood straight up from his head all the time. He got so excited he could not keep his seat, so he stood up and hollered. We rode past Poplar Hill School and Mr. Ashford's farm and all the other farms and through the village. We passed a good many teams, but I didn't recog nize a person, because we were going so fast I could not see who anybody was. We rode thirty miles in two hours. Mr. Green and the Hermit had a good visit. We fellows could see them talking all the time, and we thought they were talking about Jerry's staying on the farm with Poky and me. And sure enough When we got back to our place, Mr. Green said: "Well, Jerry, you 65


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM may stay on the farm with the boys, if you want to." Poky and I yelled: "Who' s all right? Mr. Green i s all right! Rah, rah, rah! Mr. Green!" Jerry thanked his father, and then we all said Good-by to him, and away he flew up the road and in a second was out of sight in a cloud of dust. I turned to Jerry, saying: "Jerry, make your self at home. You're one of the partners of the farm." "Thanks, Bob, I'll do my share of the work," he replied, grabbing my hand. "Jerry, I am glad you are going to be with us," the Hermit told him. "I'm glad, too, he can be our hired man, said Poky, winking at the Hermit and me. "Are you the boss?" Jerry asked, giving Poky a friendly slap on the back. "No, the Hermit is the boss," said Poky, doubling up his fists and jumping at Jerry like a young rooster. Jerry grabbed him and laid him sprawling on the ground. 66


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Stop that, boys, the first thing you know you two will get to fighting in earnest," the Hermit said, stepping in between Jerry and Poky. "Oh, I can do Jerry any day," said Poky, walking toward the henroost. Then he called back: "I'm going to see if the hens have laid another egg." "Boys, eat supper with me," said the Hermit, starting toward the woods. Jerry and I needed no second invitation; we fell in line, and Poky came running after us. Jerry was glad to be at the Hermit's hut in the woods again, and he said: "This reminds me of good old times." Rolling up his sleeves, he said: "Let me chop the wood, let me build the fire, let me pare the potatoes, let me do something to help you." Poky said, "Jerry, you're our company, sit down on that log and be good. Bob and I'll do the hustling to-night, but to-morrow we'll put you to work on our farm." "You little monkey, I'll do as I please," said Jerry, picking up the ax and beginning to chop wood. I whispered to Poky: "Quit bossing Jerry, he won't stand it."


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Poky made a face at me, but he let Jerry alone, I noticed. "Boys," said the Hermit, "where's the milk for supper?" "Jimminy crickets!" cried Poky, "I forgot to milk the cow," and away he ran through the woods toward our farm. Supper was ready before Poky got back with the milk. And the Hermit said: "Boys, if you're hungry, we'll begin to eat." Aw, no!" said Jerry, "let's wait for Poky. It isn't fair to eat before he comes." In a little while we heard him coming through the woods, whistling. It was dark in among the tall trees, and Poky always whistles when he is afraid. "Hoo-hoo, hoo-hoo !" I called. And he stopped whistling and hoo-hooed back to me. Jerry and I ran to meet him, and Jerry carried the pail of milk to the Hermit's hut. Well, it was fun to see Jerry drink the new milk. He had never tasted it before, and he could not get enough pf it. He drank and drank and drank. "Drink all you want, the cow will give us another pailful in the morning," Poky told him. 68


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Liking new milk is one of the signs that you'll make a good farmer," I told him. It pleased the Hermit to see Jerry filling his bowl a dozen times, and he said: "Milk is good for you, drink all you want, Jerry." "Thanks," said Jerry. "I'm glad I'm going to live with that cow the rest of the summer." "I'll show you how to milk, and I'll let you try your hand at it once in a while," said Poky. "Boys, did you feed the hens?" the Hermit asked. "No, sir, we didn't, or the pig either," said Poky, jumping up from the ground. "You boys are great farmers," said the Hermit, laughing. "I was so excited over Jerry's arrival, I forgot all about our stock," I said to the Hermit. Then I said to Jerry and Poky: "Come on, boys, we must go back to our farm." "Wait for me," said Poky, running around, calling: "Pussy, Pussy, Kitty, Kitty." "Puss is asleep in my bunk," said the Hermit. Poky ran into the hut and came out with the cat in his arms, saying: "No rats will bother us to-night. I'm going to take this cat to bed with me." Jerry and I laugh.ed at him, but he 'did not 69


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM pay any attention to us but marched off with the cat in his arms. When we said Good-night to the Hermit, he handed me a basket of po tato-parings for the pig and some scraps for the hens. It was pitch dark going through the woods. Poky went ahead, whistling. We kept running into trees every few steps. There was not a sound when we crossed the pasture; I suppose the cow was asleep. And when we went through the yard we did not hear a sound fr. om the pigpen or henroost, so I suppose the pig and poultry were asleep. We went into the house and lighted a candle and went up stairs. When Jerry saw the bed, he said: "Jingo! do you expect me to bunk with you two fellows and the cat in that little bed?" "Certainly," said I, "what's to hinder?" "I'm going out under the trees," said he, taking a hammock and going downstairs. I helped him find a place to swing the ham mock, then I went upstairs to bed. Poky was fast asleep with the cat in his arms. Saturday, July 27. Jerry came stumbling upstairs about day light, saying: "Plague take the flies! I can't 70


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM sleep." Throwing himself on the floor, he growled like a sleepy dog. I said: "Here, Jerry, take my place in bed, I'll get up and feed the pig and fowls, they must be hungry." "Is it time to feed the animals? I'll help you," said Jerry, jumping up and forgetting to be cross. When we went downstairs, he dipped a basin of water out of the rain-barrel and washed himself as naturally, as if he had washed in a basin all his life. Poky came down, and we all went out to do the chores. The Hermit came to breakfast, and while we were eating, he said: "Boys, there's a fairly good crop of hay in that five-acre lot, and it ought to be cut I wonder if Mr. Ash ford would come over here with his mowing machine and mow it for us." "It's late for haying, isn't it?" Jerry asked. "Yes," said the Hermit, "the hay is over ripe and beaten down by the rain and wind, yet the crop is worth harvesting; and what can't be mowed with the machine, can be cut with the scythe." After breakfast the Hermit sent me to ask Mr. Ashford to mow our five-acre lot. I went 71


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM across-lots and found him hoeing corn in one of his fields. Before I had time to ask him, he said: "Say, Bob, don't you boys want me to mow that lot of yours over by the woods?" "Thank you," said I, "that's what I came to ask you." "I'll mow it for you Monday morning," said he. I thanked him again, and said : "We boys will exchange work with you any time when you want extra farm-hands. We'll be glad to help you." "I'll call on you some day for help," he said, as I said Good-by to him. On the way back I went by the road and crossed the canal. On the bridge was a boy with bundles of straw in a wagon.


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Hollo!" said I. "Hollo!" said he. "Live around here ?" I asked. He pointed to a white house across the fields. "I live just beyond you on the cross-road," I told him. "Spratt's farm?" he asked. "The same," said I. "Humph I That thistle patch,'' said he. Just then a canal-boat came along, and as it was passing under the bridge, he hollered: "Say, Cap., want any straw?" The man on the boat said: "Yes, how much do you ask for it?" "Five a bundle,'' said the boy. "Six bundles,'' said the Captain, holding his arms out to catch it. The boy tossed the six bundles; the man caught three, and the rest fell onto the deck of the boat. Then the man tossed the money to the boy, and it fell on the floor of the bridge. The boy picked up the money and jumped in his wagon. He had sold all the straw. I was going the same way, so he asked me to ride with him. "Coming back to the canal-bridge again to day?" I asked. 73


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM He nodded his head. "To sell more straw?" I asked. "No, to swim," he said. I did not say anything more to him till I got to the place where he turned, then I jumped out of the wagon, saying: "Come down to our place and see us fellows sometime." "All right," he said, driving on. When I got a little way down the road, I heard someone call, "Hollo, Fred!" So I know his name is Fred. Then I scudded to our farm to tell the Hermit about Mr. Ashford's offer to cut the hay, and to tell Jerry a nd Poky about going a-swimming this afternoon. "Jingo!" cried Jerry, "that just suits me. I'm tired of digging and hoeing." "Swim!" cried Poky. "Hurrah for the Erie Canal! I'm glad we live near it." Jerry. and Poky put their spades and hoes in the barn, and I went to tell the Hermit about Mr. Ashford's mowing the five-acre lot on Monday morning. He was in the orchard putting up a piece of the rail-fence which had tumbled down. "Bob," said he, "we'd better turn the pig in here to feed, it's a good place for him, and it 74


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM will improve the trees to have him rooting around them." "Yes, that's a capital idea," said I. Then I told him what Mr. Ashford said. When I had finished, I said : "We boys would like to go a-swimming this afternoon." "Bette.r wait until after supper," he replied. "Very well," said I, running back to tell the boys. I found them in the kitchen, cooking dinner. Poky was frying bacon, and Jerry was stuffing wood in the stove like a fireman on a locomotive. "Jerry, you're a boss stoker," said I. "Jerry keeps the potatoes boiling," said Poky. "I'm hungry as a bear," said he, crowding another stick under the kettle. I saw how cross Jerry was, consequently I did not tell him that the Hermit said for us to wait till after supper to go swimming. I ran to the orchard to call the Hermit. Look ing at the sun he said: "Why, Bob, it's only eleven o'clock." "The potatoes and bacon are all ready," I told him. "Well, I'll go along with you, but 'tain't time to eat," he said. 75


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM When we went into the kitchen, everything was smoking hot on the table. And Jerry and Poky were sitting at the table waiting for us. "What's the hurry, boys?" the Hermit asked. "It's dinner-time," Poky answered. "It's only eleven o'clock," said the Hermit. "My stomach feels like twelve o'clock," said Jerry. "Well, well, it does not make much dif ference," said the Hermit, washing his hands, then sitting down to the table. Pretty soon he said: "Boys, if you're tired of hoeing in the garden, you can cut the weeds 'long the orchard fence this afternoon. They're man high!" Jerry dropped his knife and fork on his plate with a bang and stared at all three of us. I shook my head at him. Poky kicked me under the table, whispering: "Swimming, tell the Hermit." I shook my head at Poky, then I told the Hermit about meeting the boy named Fred on the canal-bridge. "Oh, yes, that's Fred Jennings, he lives with his grandparents on the other road/' said the Hermit.


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Fred said the swimming in the canal 1s fine," I said. "Yes, it always is," said the Hermit. Poky could not keep still any longer, and he piped up and said: "Please, Mr. Hermit, let us fellows go swimming, I'm so tired of hoeing and spading. And, too, I want to get washed up for Sunday." "Certainly, there will be plenty of time after supper to go swimming," the Hermit said. "Aw! We're going this afternoon," said Jerry, kicking the leg of the table. "There won't be any of the farmer-boys in the canal till after milking-time, and all the chores .are done," the Hermit told him. Jerry did not say anything more till he got up from the table. Then he went outside, saying: "I'm not going to dig weeds this after noon." The Hermit went out in the orchard without saying anything more to us fellows. Poky and I washed the dishes, then we hunted up Jerry. He was lying in the hammock. I said: "Jerry, you needn't work this afternoon. Poky and I'll cut weeds along the orchard fence. Then after the chores are done, we'll 77


BOB KNIGHT' S DIARY ON A FARM go down to the canal with the rest of the fel lows round here." Jerry did not answer me. Poky said: "I'm not going to cut weeds this afternoon." "You needn't," said I, walking toward the barn to get the scythe to cut weeds along the orchard fence. I began mowing near the gate and worked slowly along till I reached the Hermit. "Ginger!" said I, "this is the hottest, longest afternoon I ever spent." "Of course, it is. You boys cooking the dinner an hour earlier made the afternoon jus t so much longer," said the Hermit, laughing. I stopped a moment to rest, and the Hermit said: "Mowing is pretty hot work. You're not used to it, boy. Better not do any more this afternoon." "I'm not tired, but I'll rest a minute or two," said I, lying down on the grass in the shade. I did not intend to go to sleep, but the first thing I knew, I heard Poky saying: "Here's Bob, fast asleep." Jerry came along laughing, and saymg: "You're a smart farmer, you are, sleeping when you ought to be cutting weeds 78


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM I jumped up, asking: "What time is it?" "Five o'clock," said Jerry, looking at his watch. I picked up the scythe, and we walked toward the house. Poky ran ahead of us. Jerry told me that he and Poky had been to the vil lage and bought a beefsteak and some other things for our Sunday dinner. "Good!" said I. "I'm tired of pork and potatoes," saia Jerry When we reached the house, Poky was tying a string on a tin-pail and letting it down into the well. "What are you doing?" I asked him. "Keeping our Sunday dinner fresh and cool," said he. Then he pointed to the pail and smacked his lips, saying: "Jerry's beef steak is in there." The Hermit came along, saying: "Better do the chores early, boys, if you want to go a swimming." "Hustle up, boys," called Poky, running for the milk-pail. Jerry and I fed the fowls and pig, and all three of us set the table and hustled the food on. The Hermit washed the dishes, and we three fellows started for the canal. 79


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM We raced across-lots at a break-neck speed. Jerry pulled off his clothes on the way. Poky yelled: "Who'll be the first man in the water?" Jerry and I got there first and plunged in. Poky yelled, as he went in: "Last is best of all the game." There was a number of boys already in the canal. One of them was the boy I met on the bridge this morning. "Hollo, Fred," said I, swimming alongside of him. "Hollo, yourself," said he, turning on his back and swimming away from me. He's a boss swimmer, and he knows it. But Jerry can beat him, for Jerry can dive off the railing So


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM of the bridge. I can't, but I will before the summer is over. Poky does not like to dive, because going so fast through the air tickles him in the stomach. We fellows stayed in the water till pitch dark, then we started for our farm across-lots with the other fellows, because it is a short cut. When we left them, Fred sang out: "Bob, I'll stump you to jump off the railing of the bridge Monday night." "I'll jump, if you will," I called back. He answered me, but I didn't hear what he said. When we reached our house we found our cat sitting on the front fence, waiting for us. Poky took her in his arms and started for bed. Jerry tumbled into the hammock, and I went upstairs with Poky. 81


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Sunday, July 28. WHEN I a woke this morning I heard Jerry calling the cow: "Co-boss, co-boss, co-boss." Poky jumped out of bed so quick, he scared the cat almost into a fit. Running to the win dow, Poky called: "Here, you city chap, leave my cow alone, you don't know how to milk. You'll dry her up, and then we farmers will be in a nice fix, we won't have anything to eat." Before I could say "Jack Robinson," Poky had his clothes on, and was running toward the pasture. And he did not come back with the pail of milk till I had breakfast ready. At the table the Hermit said: "We'll start for church about ten o'clock." "Church!" cried Jerry, making big eyes at me. The Hermit nodded his head. "Aw! Jerry!" said Poky, "come on to church, we're all washed up clean." "I haven't anything to wear but my circus clothes," said Jerry, winking at me. I had not been to church in so long a time I did not want to go, either. But I said to Jerry: "Let's go." "All right," said he. 82


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM So we three boys walked with the Hermit to the White Church at the Cross-Roads. We did not go to Poplarport, becau s e it is too far. When we went into the yard, I saw Fred under the horse-shed, tying his horses. I nodded, and he nodded. The Hermit and we boys went into the church and took a seat near the door. The I -":-:--... .. ... : '.c. ,,.__ ? ... $ '-0 u R. ( H v R.C H minute Poky sat down he took a hymnal, and when the choir began to sing, he joined in as though he were one of them. Jerry and I sat where we could see out of a window, and we kept looking out, watching a flock of butterflies hovering around Mr. West's cabbage patch. Jerry looked cross and did not pay any 83


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM attention to the service, till the minister began preaching about David and Goliath. Then Jerry woke up. Jerry had never heard the story. And when the minister told about David killing the lion and the bear when he was tending sheep, Jerry straightened up and clinched his fists, as if he wanted to help David kill the wild beasts. I watched Jerry with both my eyes, for I did not know what he would do when he heard the of the story. Then when the minister told how David chose five smooth stones from a brook and went forth to meet Goliath, Jerry trembled with the fight ing-spirit and held his breath while he waited for the minister to tell the result of the fight. And when the minister said that David took one of the stones and slung it and smote Goliath in the forehead, and the stone into his forehead and he fell upon his face to the earth; and, then how David ran and stood over the giant and took his sword and cut off his head, Jerry said, out loud: "Good boy, David!" I gave him a kick, and he shoved back on the seat, for he was nearly off it, listening to the story. He leaned toward me, and whis pered: "David is all right." 84


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM I saw the Hermit smile, and two or three of the congregation turned their heads and looked at Jerry. Jerry kept quiet during the rest of the sermon and listened to every word the minister said. On the way home, he said to the Hermit: "Where can I get a Bible? I want to read about David and Goliath." "On a shelf in my hut is a Bible,'' the Hermit told him. "I tell you what! I wish I had Goliath's sword. David was a lucky fellow to get it," said Jerry. While we sauntered along toward our farm, listening to the Hermit talk about David and Goliath, Poky ran ahead, and by the time we got there, he had the beef steak cooking and the table set. Jerry was not so much inter ested in his dinner as usual; he was thinking all the time about going to the Hermit's hut for the Bible. Consequently, as soon as he could eat his dinner, he started off alone. The Hermit went somewhere or other, leaving Poky and me alone. We were too lazy to wash the dishes, so we went out and lay down on the grass under the tree and went to sleep. Pretty soon we heard a familiar voice calling : 85


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Boys, boys, where are you?" Up we jumped and saw Polly standing in our kitchen door. "Oh, my!" cried Poky, "Polly'll make a row about those dinner dishes." And sure enough, as we went toward her, she began scolding: "You're the worst boys I ever came across. What are you doing out there asleep on the grass, when you ought to be washing up the Sunday dinner dishes?" Poky and I did not answer. She went on: "What kind of housekeeping do you call this! I'll have to get a friend of mine to come here and keep things straight for you. You lazy rascals-" "Aw, now, Polly!" Poky began. But she shut him off with: "Why don't you wash your dishes like decent folks?" "It's Sunday," said Poky. "What if it is?" said Polly, shaking her fist. "It's wicked to work on Sunday," Poky told her, winking at me. Polly stamped her foot at him, then went into the kitchen and began washing the dishes and straightening the cupboards and shelves. I offered to help her, but she said: 86


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Get along out of my way, you're more bother than help." Poky and I went out into the yard and let her do the work. And for fear she would give us another scolding, we put off for the Hermit's hut lickety-cut. We found Jerry lying on the ground, reading the Bible. He was so interested he would not speak to us at first, but I kept asking him how he liked David. And at last, he said: "David is a great King." Poky and I left Jerry, and we wandered about in the woods till it was time to get the cow. We thought Polly would be gone, but 87


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM to make sure, we sneaked back to the house, going through the orchard and garden so she would not see us. The kitchen door was closed; by that we knew she was gone, for we fellows always leave it open. Poky would not go near the house He said: "Bob, you go in and get the milk-pail, you're the biggest." I said to myself: "What's the use of being afraid of Polly!" With that I marched up to the door and banged it wide open, calling: "Hollo, Polly!" No one answered. Just then Poky called: "Here it is." I looked around and saw the pail hanging on the side of the house. Polly had washed it and hung it there. "Polly is a cracker-jack of a housekeeper," said Poky, starting off with the pail to milk. I went into the kitchen and found the floor swept and scrubbed, the table scoured white as snow, the stove black as night, and the pantry shelves all in order. Whew! the place was too clean to live in. I did not know what to do, so I sat down on the porch and waited for Poky. When he came, I let him go in 88


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM with the milk, and the first thing I heard him say was: "What's the matter with the kitchen? It looks lonesome." Then he came running out, saying: "Bob, let's eat out here and keep the kitchen clean." "That's what I was thinking of doing," said I. We did not have supper till Jerry came, then we sat on the back porch and ate bread and milk. The Hermit did not show up. I sup pose he was hunting for something, wandering through the woods and fields. The boys went to bed early, but I sat up awhile to write in my diary. Monday, July 29. WHEN we fellows came downstairs this morning, the first thing Jerry asked was: "Who cleaned up the kitchen?" "Polly of Poplar Hill School," said Poky. "Gee! but it's clean!" said Jerry. I made a fireplace of stones on the ground by the quince-bushes, and Poky cooked the breakfast. We sat on the porch and ate our oatmeal and milk. 89


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Jerry said: "Bob, this is like camping. This just suits me." "Me, too," said Poky. Mr. Ashford drove into the yard before we had finished breakfast. Poky snatched the bowls and spoons and put them into a pail of water, saying: "Hustle up, boys, we begin our haying to-day." The Hermit came with Mr. Ashford. We boys fell in line, and we all went to our hayfield. There was not anything for us to do, so I cut across the fields to see what Fred was doing. He was hoeing corn. "Haying over to your place?" he asked. "Yes," said I.


I BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Pretty poor crop, I'll wager, he said "Yes, but we didn't plant it; we're taking what we found on the land," I told him. "I know," said he, "but it must be pretty discouraging work." "We fellows get a lot of fun out of it," I told him. "Don't you have to work only when you want to?" he asked. "We take it easy," I replied. "You're lucky," said he, beginning to dig again with his hoe. I started back, and when I got to the fence, I called: "Going swimming to-night?" "Maybe," he answered. When I got back to the hayfield I found the boys sitting on the fence, watching Mr. Ash ford mow. So I climbed up and sat with them. When he was crossing the field the last time, he came along by us fellows, and I said: "Pretty poor crop, isn t it?" "It might be worse," he answered. The Hermit came along, and said: "The crop is heavier than we thought." "That's encouraging," replied Jerry. "Do you think it will keep our cow through the winter?" Poky asked. 91


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "If it doesn't, I'll give you fodder," said Mr. Ashford. Then we fellows yelled fit to scare the crows: "Who's all right? Mr. Ashford is all right! Rah, rah, rah! Mr. Ashford!" Taking off his big straw hat, he said: "Thanks, young farmers, thanks !" Then we yelled again. Mr. Ashford drove his team out of the field toward the house, and we all followed. I asked him to stay to dinner, and he said: "Much obliged, boys, but I must go home. Some day I'll eat dinner with you." "Any time you need extra men, we fellows will help you out," I said. "I'll call on you sometime. Good-by, young farmers," he said, as he started his team toward the road-gate. "Jingo!" cried Poky, "I'm glad he didn't stay to dinner. He'd think our hash pretty poor stuff. His wife is a dandy cook." "Wish I had some hash," said Jerry. "I'll make some, we've got cold beef steak and potatoes," said Poky, running into the house. 92


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Poky gave us our dinner under the shade of the trees, becau s e the porch was too sunny. The rooster and hens ate with us; picking up the crumbs from the ground. And the pig squeezed under the orchard gate and came grunting toward us. "We've got company," said Jerry, tossing crackers to the pig and fowls. "Make yourself at home," said Poky, patting the pig's head. Before we had eaten all our hash, the pig got too familiar, nosing onto our plates; and the fowls tried to help themselves to hash. "I like to see animals happy," said I, putting my plate on the ground, so that the animals could eat up the rest of the tough hash. When the Hermit had finished eating he started off, saying: "Boys, meet me in the hayfield, I'm going after the forks and rakes. Mr. Ashford said he'd lend them to us." "I'll go along with you," said I. "So will I,'' said Jerry and Poky. We went after the forks and rakes, then we went to the hayfield and worked all the after noon, spreading and shaking out the grass, so that it might dry quickly in the sun. I tell 93


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM you what! We fellows felt like genuine farm ers, haying on our own farm. Once or twice the Hermit looked at the sky, saying: "It looks a little like rain, boys, perhaps we'd better cock the hay." "It's not going to rain," said Poky. "No rain in sight," said Jerry. "Wind feels like it," said the Hermit. We fellows knew for sure that it was not going to rain, so we left the hay scattered around the field and went back to the house. When we started to do the chores, Poky called: "Swimming, boys." And you ought to have seen us fellows hustle through our work and eat our supper and race for the canal. We were the first ones there. When Fred came, he sang out to me: "Stump you to jump from the top railing of the bridge." "I'll do it," I answered, peeling off my clothes and climbing onto the top rail. "One, two, three," I yelled, and dove headfirst down into the canal. Wow! I almost lost my breath, going so fast through the air. And when I struck the water, I I was going through the canal down to China, but I made a tremendous effort and struck out with my 94


BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM arms and legs, swimming under water, till I rose to the surface. The first thing I heard was Jerry and Poky yelling: "Bravo, Bob, bravo! Do it again." Up I climbed and dove again. The second time was a good deal easier ; I did not mind the air tickling the inside of my stomach a bit. I dove the third time and it was just fun. So I kept on till it was time to go home. We went 'cross-lots, and when Fred left us, I sang out: "Stump you to dive next time from the top rail." I did not hear his answer. When we got to the house we found the cat waiting for us. Poky picked her up and started for bed. If the cat does not want to sleep with us fellows all night, she can come 95

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM downstairs and crawl through a hole in the stair-door and go out through a broken pane of glass in one of the windows. I always like a house that is made convenient for cats. ---= I was just dropping off to sleep, when I heard the rain pelting the roof. I jumped up and ran to the window and called to Jerry out in the hammock: "Say, Jerry, it's. raining, our hay will be spoiled." "Who cares!" I heard him murmur, in his sleep. "We do," Poky answered, leaning out of the window beside me. "You're no farmer," I told Jerry, getting into my clothes as fast as I could. By the time 96

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM I got downstairs, the rain was coming down like mad. And Jerry came stumbling into the house half asleep, saying: "Boys, the roof leaks." "Our hay-crop is ruined," I yelled. "Oh, yes, that's so. I forgot all about the hay," said Jerry, beginning to wake up. Well, there was nothing for us farmers to do but to stay in the house and let the rain come down on our hayfield. And to make us feel worse, Poky said: "The Hermit told us it was going to rain." "I wish I'd believed him," I said. We were so anxious and worried that we could not go to sleep, so Jerry proposed that we light a fire and have something to eat. "Not on your life!" cried Poky. <'What's to hinder?" Jerry asked. "I'm keeping that stove clean to let Polly know that we boys understand how to keep house," said Poky, strutting around the kitchen as if he was the boss of our ranch. Jerry went hunting around in the pantry, and he sang out, in disgust: "There isn't a gooseberry on the shelves. This is a healthy place to live in !" "Wait till morning, and I'll go fishing. This 97

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM rain will raise the water in Owl Creek, and there'll be plenty of fish," Poky said, trying to comfort Jerry's appetite. "There's nothing to do, let's go to bed," said I, starting upstairs. Poky ran up on all-fours, calling: "Come on, Jerry, I'll let you sleep next to the wall, so you won't tumble out of bed." We three fellows went to bed, Poky slept in the middle, and the cat lay at the foot. We went to sleep and forgot all about our hay-crop out in the rain. Tuesday, July 30. THE sun was shining when we awoke. I jumped up and ran to the window. "Boys," said I, "this will dry our hay. Hustle up, Poky, and get breakfast; we must get to work early." "Got to milk first," said Poky. Jerry and Poky did the chores, and I cooked the breakfast. I found the fireplace out-doors pretty damp, but I managed to make the fire burn in it, and I had breakfast ready when Jerry and Poky had done the chores. The first thing the Hermit said was : "Well, young farmers, did it rain?" 98

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Why didn't you make us cock the hay?" I asked him. "Just to let you have your own way, so you would find out that you don't know all about farming yet," he replied, laughing at us. "Is our crop ruined?" Jerry asked. "Oh, no, we'll spread it out, and it will soon dry in this hot sunshine," he said. "Good!" said I. "We fellows would have slept better last night, if we had known that." "We're lucky farmers," said Poky. "No use worrying," said Jerry. Jerry, Poky, and I raced all the way to the hayfield. The Hermit followed slowly. He is a little lame in one knee. When we began tossing up the hay, I sang out: "Oh, say, boys, this is farming in earnest, isn't it?" "More fun than playing ball," said Jerry. The Hermit laughed, saying: "You boys are farmers, every inch of you." Fred was working in the wheatfield over on his farm, and before long he came over to our field and sat on the fence and talked to us. "Humph!" said he, looking at our crop of hay. "What do you think of it?" Jerry asked. 99

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Oh, it's good enough for cows," he said. "See here!" cried Poky, "our cow is no ordinary animal." Fred laughed, saying: "I've seen hundreds like her. We've got just as good ones in our pasture." "Don't believe it," Poky said, under his breath. Fred did not hear him, because he had begun to talk to Jerry about a ball game that is to come off on Saturday between the fellows of Poplarport and the farmer boys around here. "I'll be there to see that game, sure," said Jerry, forgetting to toss hay. 100

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Are you going to play?" I asked Fred. "Course I am," said he, jumping off the fence and starting 'cross-lots for his wheatfield. After hearing about that ball-game, it was pretty hard work for us fellows to go on with our haying; yet we worked till noon. "Boys," said the Hermit, "there's only a little more thari an hour's work; let's keep on and finish spreading the hay, then we won't have to come back here this afternoon." "That suits me," said Jerry. So we worked like farmers till three o'clock, then shouldered our rakes and started for the house. The sun was blazing hot. As we were crossing through the orchard, Poky whispered tome: "Bob, there isn't a crumb in the house to eat, and we can't milk for two hours yet." I said: "Let's sleep till milking-time." Just then I spied Polly standing in our kitchen door. Poky said: "There's Polly. But she can't scold us, our stove and table are as clean as she left them last Sunday." "Hollo, Polly!" we boys called. She did not answer till we reached the door yard, then she lit out on us, saying: "You're the worst set of boys I ever knew." IOI

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Our kitchen is as neat as a pin," cried Poky. "Yes, but look at this place around your door! You're living like gypsies. I'm ashamed of you," said Polly, squinting her eyes around at our fireplace on the ground and at the break fast dishes soaking in a pail. "Aw, Polly! We like this way of living," Jerry told her. "It's no way for decent people to live, and I'm going to send a friend of mine here to keep house for you," she said, holding up her skirts high, preparing to start for Poplar Hill School. When she had gone, Poky said: "Whew Polly's mad." The Hermit was in the barn, hanging up the rakes, and when he came, we told him what Polly said. "Well, well, well. Let her talk," he said. Poky went into the house, and in a minute we heard him yell : "Boys, boys Come in, quick, and see what Polly brought us." We made a dash for the kitchen, and there on the table was a custard pie, a big pan of dough nuts, a pile of cookies, and a lot of bis cuits. We all shouted: 102

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Who' s all right? Polly is all right l Rah, rah, rah Polly !" The Hermit laughed, saying: "Polly has a big heart, she means all right." Poky whispered to me: "I don't want that friend of hers to keep house for us, she ll boss us fellows like sixty." "Polly is fooling," I told him. But he said: "No, she isn't. She is in dead earnest." Poky kept worrying about Polly's friend, but I did not, for I know that she likes to scare us fellows. We did not touch a single cooky or doughnut till the cow was milked and all the chores done. Then we pitched in and had a feast. I kept thinking of Polly's generous heart all the time I was eating, and I forgot her scold ing. Scoldings don't amount to much, any how, when they go along with custard pie and doughnuts. Jerry and Poky went to bed early, but I sat up to draw pictures and write in this diary. I have hard work finding time to write, since we fellows are so busy on our farm. 103

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Wednesday, July 31. WHEN we farmers were ready to start for the hayfield, Poky said: "Guess I won't go 'long, boys. 1I'll stay here and clean up the yard." "All right," we answered, and went on with out him. The day was cooler, a fresh breeze blew from the north, so we haymakers did not get so warm as we did yesterday. The morning passed quickly. I was surprised when the Hermit said: "Twelve o'clock, boys." We started for the house, expecting to find our dinner all ready for us. When we came in :sight of the house, Jerry called: "Hollo, Poky. We're hungry as wolves." There were no potatoes cooking over the outdoor fireplace, and when we went into the kitchen, the table was bare. Not a thing in sight to eat. "Poky, Poky, Poky!" we yelled. But no answer. "He's gone a-fishing, I ll wager," said the Hermit. Thinking that we were going to have nsh 104

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM for supper, we did not mind going without our dinner. We ate Polly's cookies and doughnuts and drank milk. Poky did not show up while we were eating. During the afternoon Jerry and I cut weeds along the fences, and the Hermit fussed around, I don't know what he did. But late in the afternoon he came to the field where Jerry and I were at work, and said: "When I came across-lots, I saw smoke coming out of our chimney, wonder what it means." "Smoke coming out of our chimney!" Jerry and I repeated, both in one breath. "Yes," said the Hermit. Jerry and I hung our scythes on the fence and put for the house lively. Sure enough, smoke was coming out of our chimney, as the Hermit had told us. Jerry. sprinting ahead of me, called back: "It looks like something good to eat." Just as we came around the pigpen, a woman stepped out of the door and hung a dish-towel on the quince-bush. She did not see us, and she went back into the house. "Who is it?" Jerry whispered. "It is Polly's friend," said I. 105

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "She's making herself at home, I should think. Let's go in and let her understand that we're not afraid of her," said Jerry, going toward the door. I went with him, and as I entered, I said: "Good-a ternoon." She had a sunbonnet on, and we could not see her face. po 1.. t. r's FR. i E ND "She's deaf," whispered Jerry. "So I said, louder: "Good-afternoon, Misses." She was standing at the table with her back toward me and did not look around. There rn6

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/ BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM was a fire in the stove, and the teakettle was boiling. Jerry winked at me, saying: ."I hope she is a good cook." Just then we heard a giggle, and I recognized it as Poky's giggle. I went to the side of the table and peeked into the sunbonnet, and there I saw Poky's face grin ning at me. "Hollo, o 1 d b o y What you up to?" I asked, grabbing hold of him and walking him round and round the kitchen. W h e n h e caught his breath, he an swered: "Boys, I'm going to be housekeeper of this house, so Polly won't send her friend to boss us." "Good joke. We'll help you fool Polly," said Jerry, patting Poky on the shoulders. "Where did you get the clothes?" I asked. "Up to Fred's house," said Poky. We looked out of the window and saw the Hermit coming. "Boys, let's fool him," I said. So when the Hermit came in, I said: "Mr. 107,

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Hermit, let me introduce you to-to Polly's friend." The Hermit took off his hat and bowed very respectfully. Poky nodded his head and kept on stirring the fried potatoes in the spider on the stove. The Hermit went out on the porch to wash himself for supper. Jerry and I went with him. "What do you think of her?" I asked. He did not answer for a few seconds, then he asked: "Where's Poky_?" "Poky?" said I, looking toward the road gate, as if I expected to see him coming. "Where can he be?" said Jerry, stretching his neck to look down the road. The Hermit kept on washing his hands. Jerry whispered to me, "Can't fool the wise old man; he's on to the joke." We three went in and sat down to the table. Poky dished up the supper, then he went out rside and sat on the steps and whistled. Jerry looked at me and scowled. The Hermit winked at us, saying: "She's a pretty good whistler, isn't she?" Jerry and I burst out laughing. Poky heard us, and sang out: "Say, boys, 108

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM what's going on in there, anything funny?" We did not answer, and he came bounding into the kitchen. The Hermit said: "Poky, you make a first rate looking girl." "Course I do, and I'm going to be the house keeper for you fellows," he answered. I jumped up and escorted him to the table, saying: "Poky, sit right down here and eat your supper, or you won't get anything to eat. Jerry is gobbling everything up." Well, we had so much fun with Poky, we forgot to go a-swimming. Jerry called him Miss Jinks and declared her the boss of our ranch. Thursday, August r. WHEN we started for the hayfield this morn ing, Poky wanted to go with us, so he put on his own clothes, because the long skirts both ered his legs. "Who's going to draw in our hay for us?" I asked the Hermit. "We'll draw it in ourselves," he answered. We fellows looked at each other, wondering where we were going to get a team and wagon. But the Hermit had it all planned and showed 109

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM us how we could carry the hay to the barn. He got two fence-rails about ten feet long, and Jerry took hold of the poles at one end, standing between them, and I took hold of the other ends, then we carried them around the field, while the Hermit and Poky piled on the hay. When we had a load we started for the barn. ,N 1-iAr "Hurrah!" I shouted "Who says we farm ers can't carry in our own hay!" "I like to be independent," said Jerry, march ing along like a soldier. "I knew you would," said the Hermit, watch ing us carry off our load. "Hurry back, boys," said Poky, "we must get in all our hay to-day." Jerry and I kept step and marcned to the IIO

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM barn, singing all the we knew: "Hail, Columbia! "Star Spangled Banner," "Amer ica," and a lot more. Fred heard us away over in his potato-patch and came running over to see what the fun was. When he saw Jerry and me, he said: "Say, boys, I'll hitch up Kit and Charlie and draw in your hay for you." "Much obliged, Fred, but we're having too much fun, getting it in this way," Jerry told him. And I said: "This is more fun than driving a twelve-horse team." Fred laughed at us, saying: "I don t envy you your job." "We enjoy being independent in doing our work/' I explained. But Fred could not see it our way. After awhile he went back to his job of bugging the potato-vines. In the afternoon Mr. Ashford drove into the yard when Jerry and I were carrying in our hay. He called: "Hollo, there, young farmers What you doing?" "Putting in our hay, Jerry and I both an swered. III

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Where's your team?" he asked. We pointed to the two poles. "Pshaw! Go 'long! You boys don't mean to tell me that you've been carrying in all your hay by hand?" he said, coming into the barn. "Certainly we are," said I. "It's lots of fun," said Jerry. "Well, well, boys, you're made of the right stuff to run a farm, you'll succeed," he told us, laughing so hard that I don't know whether he was in fun or in earnest. After Mr. Ashford had driven out of the yard, Poky said: "We'd better shut these barn-doors to-night; someone might walk off with our new hay." "No, no, everyone round here is honest," the Hermit said. Then he looked at the sunset, saying: "It will rain before we're up in the morning, perhaps you'd better." .When I was closing the doors and fastening them with the wooden bolt, I felt rich to think we farmers had a crop of hay in our barn for our cow to eat next winter. We farmers were so happy we forgot to go a-sw1mmmg. '112

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Friday, 'A.ugust 2. THE first thing I heard this morning was the rain on the roof, and I was glad that our hay was in the barn. The cat sat on the window sill, washing her face. The minute Poky spied her, he said: "Puss is washing her face, that is a sure sign we're going to have company to day." f I t \ ,, ) I l I I j I I I 1 \ f OIVR. (.{AT \ \ \ "Company!" grow led Jerry, "It'. s going to rain all day." "Can't help it, we'll have company, sure pop! See if we don't!" said Poky, getting into his II3

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM clothes and running downstairs to milk the cow. The Hermit did not come to breakfast. I don't know why. We fellows were wondering what we should do all day, when Farmer Fred came walking in. Jingo! I was glad to see him. f AP.Me R F1uo Te LL iN<> t:' Vs How To R v N rAIVW "How are you, Farmer Fred?" I cried, grabbing him by the hand. "Delighted to see you," said Jerry. "Didn't I tell you we'd have company?" Poky said, grinning at Jerry and me. Fred took a chair, saying: "I thought I'd come over and see why you fellows weren't swimming in the canal last evening." "Forgot all about it," said I. 114

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "We were busy haying," said Jerry. "Didn't have time," said Poky. "Water was fine," said Fred, tipping back his chair against the wall and putting his feet on the stove-hearth. "Wish we'd been there," said Jerry, i sitting on a corner of the table. "You missed it," said Fred. "We can go swimming in our rain-barrel to night. It's full to the top," said Poky, looking out of the window. "How's your 'tater-patch, Fred?" I asked. "Plenty of bugs," he answered. "Glad we haven't got to do any bugging," said Poky. "Our garden is full of wild carrot and mus-. tard instead of potatoes," said I. "Cracky the weeds are thick!" said Poky, looking out toward the garden. "There's not so many weeds this year on account of the dry spring," said Farmer Fred. "Jimminy crickets!" exclaimed Poky. "What must they be in a wet season!" "I thought we had a pretty big crop," said I. Then I asked Farmer Fred what could be done with that quack-grass in the field west of the orchard. IIS

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Better plow it under and sow buckwheat," he told me. "Isn't it too late to sow it?" I asked. "Well, if the buckwheat does not mature be fore frost, you can plow it under, it's a first rate fertilizer. It makes the soil rich for oats next year," said Farmer Fred. "Hold on!" cried Poky. "If you plow that quack-grass under, it will come up quicker than scat." "Yes," said Fred, "it will come up again, but buckwheat grows so much faster it will shade the ground and kill out the crop of quack-grass." "Jingo!" cried Poky. "That's worth remem bering." "Fred, you're a born farmer!" I cried. "I'm plaguey glad to find out a way to get rid of the field of quack-grass," I told Fred. I felt greatly indebted to Fred, because that field has been worrying me ever since the Hermit put us fellows on this farm. Seeing that Farmer Fred knows so much about weeds, I asked him what we could do with the field-mice. "They are burrowing all over the yard and garden and fields," I told him. "Humph!" said Farmer Fred, "the reason you have so many field-mice is because the HerII6

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM mit traps all the skunks and foxes round here in the wintertime." "Skunks and foxes!" cried Poky. "Yes, they're the best mousers we have, and they shouldn't be killed," Fred told him. "Can't beat our cat," said Poky. "Cats are all right, but a farmer needs the help of the wild animals, too," said Farmer Fred. "Cracky !"said Poky, "I'll have more respect for the skunks after this." Then Fred told us about the crows. He said: "Don't scare 'em away, they eat more worms than corn. The crows dig up the grubs that eat the corn. Last year our best meadow was full of white grubs that turn into June bugs, and the crows worked days, rooting up the grubs, every one of 'em." "Aw! Jim Crow is all right," said Poky. "Don't kill snakes, either, they eat up a lot of destructive bugs and insects," Farmer Fred said. "Snakes are harmless," said Poky. "What kind do you have round here?" Jerry asked. "Oh, just tpe common kind," said Farmer Fred.

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "You ought to see a big black water-snake," said Jerry. "I see one once in awhile along the banks of the canal," said Farmer Fred. "Kii, yii, yii, yii !" cried Poky. "I'm not going in swimming there any more." "They won't hurt you," said Fred, looking disgusted at Poky. Then he turned to Jerry and me, saying: "I don't believe in killing or destroying any living thing that minds its own business." "Neither do I, except skeeters, I kill them," said Poky. Jerry did not say anything, because he likes to pop away at things with his gun. Yet I think he'll outgrow that habit when he gets to be a full fledged man. He ought to, anyway. We asked Fred to stay to dinner, but he said that he couldn't. When he was going out of the door, he said: "Don't forget the ball game to-morrow, boys." "Where is it?" Jerry asked. "In that lot south of the railroad," he an swered. "Who plays?" I asked. "The Poplarports against the Farmers,." said Fred. u8

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "We'll be there," all of us answered. I'm thankful Fred did not stay to dinner, for we had so little to eat. Poky was too lazy to cook us anything. In the afternoon I patched the roof of the henroost. While I was at work the rooster and hens went out and began scratching in the garden. The Hermit was coming across the yard.ti and he said: "The hens have started out, sure sign it's going to clear." "Don't look like it,," I said, glancing up at the dark heavy clouds. "It will clear 'bout milking-time, it always does," he replied, going into the barn to see whether the roof leaked. Sure enough! The rain let up just as Poky started to milk the cow. We boys felt too wet to care about going a-swimming, so we went to bed when the chick ens went to roost. rsaturday, 'August 3 THE sun was shining bright when I awoke, but everything was sopping wet. There was nothing to do but to pull weeds in the garden. We fellows are working hard to clean it up for next spring. We worked like farmers all II9

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM the morning; thinking of going to the ball game in the afternoon kept us good-natured. And we did not mind what we had to eat for dinner; we gobbled down our bread-and-milk, scrubbed ourselves clean with soap and fresh rain-water from our rain-barrel, combed our hair, put on clean shirt waists, and started for the ball game. I expected to see Farmer Fred on the way, but I didn't. We looked for him among the boys hanging round the fence, but he was not there. So we sat on the stone wall and watched the two teams walking around and talking. At last Jerry hollered: "Quit your monkeying and play ball." Then all of us yelled : "Game, game, game." Well, at last they took their places, the Poplarports in the field, and the Farmers opening the first inning, with Fred at the bat. A crazy Biff The first ball was a wild 120 kid was Pitcher. Bang! Boom! one; it hit Fred

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM caplump in the stomach, doubling him up like a jack-knife, and he fell on the ground. Poky yelled: "They've knocked the wind clean out of him !" "He's getting it again," said Jerry. We all watched Farmer Fred straighten up and take his place again. "He'll be no good, he's had the baseball spirit knocked clean out of him," said I. "That Pitcher ought to be yanked off the diamond," said Jerry. Well, there is no use in my writing about that inning, for it was one sided all the way through, all on account of that crazy Pitcher. He throws one of those Fil ED tantalizing balls, away out of the batter's reach. There was not a ghost of a show for the Farmers with his wild pitches. The poor pitching gave the inning to the Poplarports. Hang the luck 1 The Farmers got wrathy and left the diamond and went and sat in a row on the stonewall like a flock of crows. They 121

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM refused to play any more. I don't blame them. Umpire Kelley strutted around, yelling: "Boys, you're acting like a bunch of kids. Take your places for another inning." Not a Farmer left the stonewall. One of them replied: "We want fair play. Give us a fellow who knows how to pitch a fair ball." Umpire Kelley did not answer, and the Farmers began to call him names. The Poplar ports called the Farmers names, too, and for awhile there was a rapid-fire conversation be tween the two teams that beat anything I ever heard. It is not necessary for me to write down all they said back and forth. I got dis gusted, and I said to Jerry: "You tell them how to play ball." "No," said he, "they're all too hot-headed. Wait till they cool off."

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Then the Poplarports called: "Come off the roost, Hayseeds, and play ball." The fellows jumped down, and every one of them marched off up the road. And that ended the ball game for that afternoon. Vie three boys ran and caught up with them. Jerry said: "Don't give up, boys. You can beat the Pop larports even with poor pitching. Vlhat your team lacks 1s ginger." //ELLE(. All the Farmers beN gan talking at once. I don't know what each one said. Fred kept quiet; he had the wind knocked out of him early in the afternoon and had not regained it yet. I was walking next to him, and I said: "Jerry's a boss ball-player, he's almost pro fessional. I advise you Farmers to make him Captain of your team. He'll show you how to beat 'em. See if we don't!" Fred answered: "VI e're going to reorgan ize, and I'm going to invite you three fellows to join our team." 123

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Thanks, Fred, we'll do it. And the next time the Farmers play the Poplarports, we'll beat 'em. See if we don't!" That seemed to please Fred. When I parted with him at our gate, I was going to ask him how his stomach felt, but on second thought I did not. The thump he got from the ball hurt his pride more than it did his stomach. Jerry said: "B o y s, I'll do my very best to help you beat the Pop larports." P o k y called: "De pend on me for one of your team, boys." So I knew that Jerry and Poky h a d b e e n asked to join the Farmers for the next game. It was milking-time, so we put on our old clothes and started to do the chores. We were so excited over the ball game we could not keep from talking about it all the time. When Poky was milking, he was hollering to Jerry or to me about that crazy pitcher or the catcher or somebody or other. :When Jerry was feeding the pig, he called to 124

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM me: "Say, Bob, did you see that catcher let the ball leak through his fingers? What a chump he is!" "Yes, I did. He made me wrathy," I an swered. I was in the henroost, feeding the fowls. We put their supper in there so they will go in, and we can shut them up for the night. At the supper-table we told the Hermit about the game; he was very much interested and wanted to know all a.bout it. Jerry said: "I sized the Farmers up, and the team is all right for height and weight, but they lack sand; they're not sure of themselves. They'll never win till they think they're champion ball-play ers. They must keep that feeling inside of them all the time. A ball-player mustn't feel shaky in his mind or in his knees, either." I said: "Knocking the wind out of Fred, seemed to knock the grit out of the entire team." Poky said: "Fred's accident and the pitcher's wild balls hoodooed the game for the Farmers, that's sure." We talked about the game till we went to bed. 125

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Sunday, August 4. AND when we woke up in the morning we went on talking about it, just as if we had not been asleep at all. Jerry said: "Smarty's wild pitches will get him into trouble some day. I'll lay him out if he gives me any of those balls when I'm at the bat, see if I don't!" Poky sang out: "Lick him, Jerry, lick him once for you and once for me, will you ?" "I'll not stand any of his monkeying," Jerry answered. The Hermit did not come to breakfast, so after we were through eating, I said: "I won der what we're going to do to-day." "Pull weeds, I suppose," said Poky. "I wish we could get someone to plow up that quack-grass," I said. "Can't we spade it?" Jerry asked. "Naw, it's got roots of iron," said Poky. "Why don't the Hermit come and set us to work?" I asked. Just then we saw him coming. "Here he is all dressed up in his Sunday-go to-meeting clothes. What is he going to do?" Poky asked. 126

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM When he came in, I said: "How do you do, Mr. Hermit?" "Why aren't you ready for church, boys?" he asked, looking very much surprised. "Church!" all exclaimed. "Don't you know it's Sunday?" he asked. We all laughed, and Jerry said: ".That fake ball game knocked all of the days of the week out of my head." "Get r e ad y, b o y s, don't stand around talking a b o u t t h a t ball game," the Hermit said, getting out of patience with us. W e fellows skedad dled upstairs and hus tled into our clothes and went to church with the MR. H ; R. Hermit. Fred was there; he was hanging around the door waiting for us fellows. Poky whispered to me: "I wonder how his stomach feels." "Sh-s_ -s-s !" I went, for I did not want Fred to hear. 127

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Hollo!" he called, not very loud, because he was near the church-door. We all said: "Hollo." And I wanted to stop and talk about the new team he is go ing to organize, but the Hermit marched us boys straight into the church. And Fred went to his seat. I could see the back of his head all the time during the service, but he did not turn around and look at us three fellows. Jerry behaved all right to-day. But Poky went to sleep and snored, and came near tumbling off the seat. The Hermit caught hold of him just in time to save him. \ After church Fred asked \ us to go into his Sunday-M S school class. R. T E A RT T h e Hermit s a i d: "Go along, boys, I'll wait for you." Jerry did not want to go, because there are so many girls in the Sunday-school room. Jerry is as brave as a lion among us fellows, but when girls come in sight he loses all his nerve. Poky said: "Come along, Jerry, perhaps they 128

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM will have a picnic pretty soon, and they will invite us to go. Aw! come along." Jerry started, and we all followed. The teacher's name is Mr. Stewart. I like him. We all behaved well. Poky kept drumming on the seat, but he can't help it, he's all music and he can't keep still. Each of us got a book from the library to read. After Sunday-school was out we fellows went outside and found the Hermit, and Fred drove off toward his home. When he left us he did not say anything about going a-swim ming in the canal to-night, so I suppose the 129

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM boys round here don't go swimming on Sunday nights. We had a slim dinner, because we were so interested in the ball game yesterday we forgot to buy anything at Poplarport. Well, we did not have so many dishes to wash, that is one good thing. After dinner we sat under the trees and read our Sunday-school books. Poky said: "Do you think Polly and her friend will be here this afternoon?" "She may," I said. Away Poky flew into the house and ran up stairs to put on his skirts and sunbonnet. Pretty soon Jerry and I saw Polly coming through the fields. Poky saw her, too. He was not dressed yet, but he ran to the window and called to us : "Hist, boys! She's coming, but her friend isn't with her. Now you'll see me fool her. Don't give me away, will you?" Jerry and I shook our heads and went on reading our story-books. Poky ran down-stairs and began sweeping the porch. Polly came along all out of breath, saying, "Well, boys, isn't it a warm day?" "Yes, Polly, it is," Jerry and I answered. 130

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY dN A FARM She looked out of the corner of her eye at the woman sweeping the porch, and whispered: "Who's that?" Jerry jumped up1 saying: "Oh, Polly, let me introduce you to our hired-girl." Polly straightened herself up stiff and stood in her tracks, never budging an inch toward the porch. 131

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Come on, Polly," he said, going toward the porch. "Well, what's her name?" Polly asked, looking crosser than a bear. "We call her Miss Jinks," said Jerry. Polly made a courtesy, saying: "Good after-noon, Miss Jinks." Poky kept on sweeping without looking up. "Humph!" said Polly, "she's not very polite." "Speak a little louder," Jerry whispered. "Good-afternoon, Miss Jinks," Polly hollered, at the top of her voice. Poky dropped the broom and ran into the house, slamming the door after him. He was just shaking with laughter and could not keep still any longer. I heard him laughing when he got in the kitchen. "Your Miss Jinks has beautiful manners, I must say," Polly said, tossing her head. "Come inside and see her," Jerry said. "I'll do nothing of the kind," said Polly, turning and going toward the fields. She had a big basket on her arm, and she was carrying it away with her. So I called: "Polly, Oh, Polly Come back." She turned half-way around, and said: "I 132

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM won't leave the things I have in my basket. Miss Jinks can cook for you now." "Oh, Polly! Don't go," Jerry called. Poky came running out of the door, yelling: "Polly, Polly, don't get mad! I'm Miss Jinks." Polly never looked back once, but walked away with the basket on her arm. Jerry was heart-broken; he threw himself on the ground and howled. Poky took off his skirts and sunbonnet and 133

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B6B KNIGHT'S tHARY ON A FARM threw them down, saying: "Plague take the luck! We've lost our supper." I said: "I wish we hadn't fooled Polly." "So do I," said Jerry, still groaning. "Polly never could take a joke," said I. "I'll never play another joke on Polly," said Poky, rolling over and over on the grass. Pretty soon the Hermit came, and we told him about the trick we played on Polly, and how she went away with the big basket. "Serves you right," was all he said. Then he told us to do the chores. We had a slim supper. All the time we were eating bread-and-milk, we kept thinking of that big basket of Polly's chuck full of good things. Monday, Au gust 5. THIS morning I asked the Hermit about plowing that field of quack-grass. He shook his head, saying: "We can't plow that field till the wet weather this fall. The ground is too dry now." I told him of Fred's advice to sow buckwheat. "Yes, we'll sow buckwheat next summer," he said. "I wish I knew as much about farming as Farmer Fred does," I said. 134

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BOB KNIGHT' S DIARY ON A FARM "You'll learn in time," he told me. I wanted to tell the Hermit about the foxes and skunks catching the field-mice, yet I did not want to hurt his feelings, so I said: "It's too bad there are so many field-mice rooting up the soil in our land. How can we get rid of them?" "We must get some more cats. They'll clean out the mice and moles in short order," he said. "Don't foxes and skunks catch them? Some one was saying they were killed off round here in the winter too close," I said, sort o' trembling in my shoes. "Killed off in the winter!" the Hermit re peated. "Who kills them off? There are no foxes or skunks round here to kill. I don't know of a nest of skunks nearer than Ken nedy's stump-lot, three miles t'other side of Owl Creek; and there's not a fox in thirty miles of this farm. This isn't wild land." Wow! I was scared stiff. I never saw the Hermit so excited. I did not say any more about skunks and foxes. I just said: "I thought there were lots of wild animals in the woods." "Nary a one," said he. Jerry and Poky came out by the well where 135

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM we were talking and asked about the day's work. "You'd better keep on hoeing weeds in the garden; we must get them cleaned out this sum mer, so we can start our garden early next spring," he told us. Then he went over in the fields We three fellows looked at one another, and Jerry said: "Gee! I'd rather play ball." "So would I," I said. Poky asked, "Do farmers have to keep digging all the time?" "It looks that way," said Jerry, going to the barn for the hoes. We three farmers took the hoes and went to 136

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM killing weeds in our garden for awhile. But when the sun got hot, Poky said: "What do you say, boys, to our stopping a few minutes to practice?" "Where's your ball ?" Jerry asked. "We can take an onion," said I, running to the cellar for one. "My first bat," said Poky, running for the broom. Jerry was pitcher, and I was catcher. Well, maybe we didn't have fun! When the Hermit came for his dinner, he found us yelling and running from tree to tree, they were our bases, like regular professional ball-players. He entered into the sport. And when Poky was making a home-run, and I was out in the orchard, looking for the onion, the Hermit took off his hat and hurled it at Poky, yelling: "Out, out, out I You rascal !" I climbed the fence, saying: "The onion hit a tree and split all to smash." Poky turned a somersault, laughing and crowing over his home-run. "We're going to join the Farmers and play the Poplarports on Saturday," Jerry told the Hermit. "Good! I hope you'll beat 'em," said he. 137

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM We all talked about the game, and he became so interested that he did not mind eating a cold dinner. I tell you what! The Hermit is still a boy. In the afternoon we went to work at the weeds again, but we did not work long. Farmer Fred leaped the fence, asking: "Say, boys, who was playing ball with you this morning? I heard you yelling way over to our place." "We three were playing," Jerry told him. "What! only three? I thought there was a regular nine by the noise you made," Fred said, looking as if he did not believe Jerry. "Jerry is telling the truth," said I. "Well, you must have had a jolly time. Wish I'd been here," said Fred. "Let's have a game now," Poky proposed. "All right," Jerry and I answered. Fred did not like the broom and the onion at first, but after he had scored a four-base hit, he did not turn up his nose at our bat and ball. He is a first-rate player. I am glad we three fellows are in the same nine with him. When he was starting for home, he said: "Next time I come, I'll bring my bat and ball." "Wish you would," said Jerry. "We ought to practice," said I. 138

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "When will the Farmers meet to play before we play the Poplarports on Saturday?" Jerry asked. "We don't practice, we just meet on Saturdays and have a game, that's all," Fred an swered. "Humph! the Farmers ought to practice, they need it," Jerry told him. "The Farmers and Poplarports aren't regular organized teams; we don't belong to any league; we play for the fun of it," Fred ex plained. "I believe in being professional in everything I do,'' said Jerry, putting on airs before Farmer Fred. Fred did not answer. He leaped the fence and started on a dog-trot for his farm. "It's milking-time,'' said Poky, looking at the sun. He can tell time by the sun like a genuine hermit. So can Jerry and I. The Hermit did not come for supper. We farmers did not go swimming, we were too tired to walk to the canal. Tuesday, August 6. IT rained all day. Nothing of importance happened, except the cat caught a 139

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BOB KNIGHT S DIARY ON A FARM and Poky made a lantern out of a tomato can. I wonder why Farmer Fred did not come to see us. Wednesday, 'August 7. THE Hermit came to breakfast and brought a string of perch. "I'm going a-fishing to-morrow," said Poky. "Do," said Jerry. "I'm tired of pork," said I. While we were eating the perch, we began talking about things to eat, and Poky said: 140

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Do you think Polly is mad yet?" "She'll never get over it," said the Hermit. "Boys," said Poky, "let's invite her here to supper next Sunday afternoon, will you?" "Yes, and have a smashing good meal," said I. "I'll buy the grub," said Jerry. "See here, boys," said the Hermit, "if you're going to be thrifty farmers, you must learn to live out of your garden in the summer and out of your cellar in the winter." "Pretty poor living in our garden now," said Poky. "That's true. But if we haven't a garden, we must live out oi the fields and woods. We mustn't be running to the store to spend our money," the Hermit told us. "Get us a woodchuck, will you?" said Poky. "Certainly, and other things, too," said the Hermit. "Good!" cried Poky. "Who'll invite Polly?" Jerry asked. "Oh, my, I dasen't," said Poky. "Let's send her a note," said I. "Capital idea! You write it, Bob," said Jerry. "I'll think about it," I replied, getting up from the table.

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "No, write it to-day," said Jerry. "I'll take it to her, then she'll have a good long time to think about it and get over her mad-spell before Sunday," said Poky. "Here goes," said I, sitting down to scribble the invitation. "Dear Polly,"Mr. Hermit, Jerry, Poky, and I send our regards and invite you to eat supper with us Sunday afternoon. "Cordially "Bon KNIGHT." Poky was looking over my shoulder, and he said: "That'll fetch her." "When will you take it to her?" I asked. "Right away," said Poky, putting on his cap. While he was away, Jerry and I hung around the yard, waiting for him to come back. Mr. Ashford drove past, and he called: "Say, Young Farmers, will you help me with my oats to-morrow?" "Yes, glad to help you," we answered. "All right. Come to the oatfield about seven o'clock," he told us, then drove on. "I'm glad he asked us to help him," said Jerry.

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Yes, we're head-over-heels in debt to him for mowing our hay," said I. Just then Poky leaped the fence and came running toward us, saying: "Polly'll come." "What did she say?" I asked. Poky said: "Oh, she was kind of offish at first. When I said 'Good-morning' she didn't answer me. So I laid the note on the table, and she picked it up and read it. Then she laughed, and said: 'I'll come.' "I thanked her and skipped, for fear she'd change her mind and back out." "I'm glad she's coming," said I. Then I told Poky about Mr. Ashford's asking us to help him harvest his oats. Poky pushed his sleeves up, saymg: "We'll show him what three young farmers can do in an oatfield." The Hermit had gone off without setting us to work. So Jerry said: "Let's take a walk past the field and look at the oats.'' We went up the road, and as we were passing a cobblestone house, Poky said: "Here's where that man lives who came to our place one day and asked if we had seen a swarm of bees, do you remember?" "Yes, I remember him," said I. .143

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Isn't it a lonesome-looking place? There is no front door. I wouldn't want to live here," Ppky whispered, tiptoeing by the house. "Look at all the beehives in the front yard," said Jerry. "I wonder if he found that swarm he was looking for?" I asked. We talked about the bee-man till we reached the oatfield. Farmer Fred saw us going up the road, so he cut across the fields and met us there. We four boys sat on the stonewall and discussed the oat-crop. "What's your opinion of the oat-crop?" Jerry asked Farmer Fred. "Oh, fair crop," he replied. "But the oats 144

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM are lodged badly in places. Last Tuesday's rain and wind laid some of it flat. That can't be cut with the reaper, it will have to be cra dled." "Jingo!" cried Poky. "That'll be our job, sure pop!" "What!" said Fred. "Are you boys going to help Mr. Ashford with his oats?" "Certainly. He asked us this morning," I proudly answered. "I don't envy you. We're cutting ours to day. I must go back to the field," said Fred, jumping down from the stonewall. Starting 'cross-lots, he called back: "Going swimming to-night?" "Yes, 'course we are," we three answered. On our way back to our farm, we spied some blackberries along a stonewall, so we stopped and filled our hats full for our dinner. In the afternoon we lay under the cherry trees and slept, getting rested for our work in the oatfield to-morrow. After supper we went to the canal for a swim. Fred was there. Thursday, August 8. WE got up at five o'clock, did the chores, ate our breakfast and started up the road for Mr. 145

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Ashford's farm. When he saw us leap over the stonewall, he called: "How are you, Young Farmers?" "Ready for work," said I. "So am I," said Jerry and Poky. Well, we fellows pitched into the work like farmers. We took turns driving the team on a reaper and we cradled awhile and we raked. I felt that I owned the whole farm and was gathering the oats for my own team. By the way Jerry worked I could see that he thought 146

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM he owned the whole farm, too. Poky worked so hard he did not have time to whistle. Along about ten o'clock I was beginning to feel a little tired when I happened to .look up and saw Mrs. Ashford coming down the lane with a jug and basket. In a jiffy I knew what that meant. The horses did, too, for they whinnied when she let down the bars. She went to a large elm in one corner of the field. And Mr. Ashford called: "Come on, boys, stop work and have a little lunch." Poky and I hung our cradles on the fence and started. Jerry was driving his team on the reaper. He tied his horses to the fence, and we all went and sat in the shade of the big elm-tree and ate doughnuts and cookies and drank water with ginger and molasses in it. Mrs. Ashford shook hands with us, saying: "My, oh, my, boys! How you do grow!" That made me feel big, and I said: "Thank you, Mrs. Ashford. It seems good to eat your cookies once more." "Indeed it does," said Jerry. Mr. Ashford asked: "Who does the cooking over at your place?" "We all take a hand at it, but I'm the chief cook," said Poky. 147

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Mr. Ashford shook his head, saying: "You must have pretty poor living. Men and boys don't know how to cook." Mrs. Ashford said: "I shall have to send you boys something good to eat." We three fellows said: "Thank you," all to gether, we were so thankful. When we had eaten the luncheon, Mrs. Ash ford went back to the house with her empty jug and basket, and we farmers went to work again. We worked steadily till twelve o'clock. Then we unhitched the horses, and we all started for the house. On the way, Poky whispered: "Say, Bob, I smell potpie." I looked at him, and he said, "Sure." Poky smelt right. After Mr. Ashford had fed the team, and we had all washed ourselves, we went into the kitchen and there was a big platter of steaming-hot chicken-potpie on the ,,table. Jerry winked at me, and Poky grinned. We fellows ate so much that we could not work fast all the afternoon. I think Mr. Ashford noticed it, so I said: "That potpie made me lazy." "Oh no," said he, "the sun is hot and no breeze stirring." I am glad he thought so. 148

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BOB KNIGHT'S bIARY ON A FARM When six o'clock came, we fellows were in tending to start for our farm, but Mr. Ashford would not let us. "No, no, boys, my wife will be disappointed if you don't eat supper with us." Of course, we could not refuse, we thought it would not be polite. So we fellows ate an other square meal at Mr. Ashford's expense. We are going to help him to-morrow. On the way home we went to the canal for a swim. Fred was there. He said: "Don't forget the game on Saturday." "Who's going to play?" Jerry asked. "The fellows round here," said Fred. On the way home we talked about the game, and Jerry said: "I'm worried over that game. I want to meet the rest of the team and prac tice." "It doesn't seem to be the way they play ball round here," said Fred. "Let's do our level best on Saturday," said I. "I'd like to show the fellows round here how to manage a team," said Jerry. "We'll show those Poplarports some prof es sional playing," said Poky. It was pitch dark when we got to our farm. Poky's lantern came in handy for us to see 149

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l30B KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM to milk the cow. The pig and fowls were fast asleep, so we did not disturb them. We found two eggs in the nest for our breakfast to-mor row mornmg. The Hermit was not anywhere around, so we fellows went to bed. Friday, August 9. WE fellows got up early and did all the work there was to be done at our farm, then we started for Mr. Ashford's. We worked in the oatfield all the morning. Mrs. Ashford came with the luncheon as usual. She is a capital cook, and knows what boys like to eat, and gives us all we can hold. Jerry said: "It's a poor plan to feed us so high, we can't get around so fast after lunch eon." Mrs. Ashford laughed, saying: "I enjoy seeing boys eat. I consider their good ap petites a compliment to my cooking." "You must feel highly complimented then," said Poky, stroking the front of his shirt waist. "An engine needs plenty of fuel," said Mr. Ashford, laughing at us. Nothing of importance happened in the oat field. But on the way to the canal we met 150

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Fred, and he said that the Poplarports had played the Skeeters of Fox Hollow that after noon, and it was a tie game, five innings. "Where did they play?" J eri-y asked. "At Lewis's grove, at a Sunday-school pic nic," said Fred. "Oh, say!" cried Poky, "I wish our Sundayschool would have a picnic." "They always do, every summer," said Fred. "Wish they'd hurry up," said Poky. Fred left us at the cross-road and we went to our farm. The cow heard us coming and began to moo. Poky called to her, and she kept answering him till he went with the pail to milk her. The cat was waiting for her basin of milk. We farmers were pretty well tuckered out. We went to sleep the minute our heads touched the pillow, and we never woke up till day light. Saturday, August IO. THE Hermit did not come to breakfast. Poky said: "I suppose he's hunting for that woodchuck for our supper to-morrow. I hope he'll get a tender one." "To-day is the ball game, hurrah!" cried 151

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY .ON A FARM Jerry, dancing around the porch when he was washing himself. "I wish we Farmers had uniforms," I said. Jerry said: "The best I can do is to cut the letter 'F' out of some red cloth for each of us to fasten on our waists." "That's a capital idea. I'll help you," I said, getting a piece of red cloth we boys found in one of the cupboards of our house. After breakfast Jerry and I made the big red letters and pinned them on the front of our shirt waists. They look gay. We also made some for the other fellows on our team. Later in the morning when the Hermit came, we asked him to go to the ball game, but he said that he was too busy. We had dinner at eleven o'clock, so as to get an early start. Fred came along at twelve, and we four started for the ball-grounds. On the way we caught up with some of the boys of our team, and the rest of them were waiting at the grounds. Fred called them Doc, Beeswax, Kid, Ducky, and Cap. Fred's nick-name is Cider-Mill, be cause his grandfather has a cider-mill on his farm. I don't know their right names. Jerry pinned the letter "F" on each one of them and then arranged us in batting order. 152

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BOB KNIGHT' S DIARY ON A FARM The Poplarports were there, strutting around and bragging about what they were going to do. "We'll show the Hayseeds how to play base ball," said a big fellow of the name of Big George. _.,. ..,,, '-.. ..: Jerry whispered to us Farmers: "Don't an swer him. Keep your courage up and play for all you're worth, boys." There was a crowd of boys waiting to sec the game. The trees were full of them. "The Fans are getting said Poky. "I can always play better when I have a gang of rooters to urge me on," said Jerry. When Kelley the Umpire arrived, he called the game. The Poplarports opened the first inning with Big George at the bat. Jerry was Pitcher and I was Catcher. Jerry gave Big George a fair ball, and he hit it, and on his 153

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM way to first base he glanced up to see where his ball went to, and in doing so stubbed his toe; he did not fall, but he lost a second or. two of time, and Fred ran like sixty, got the ball, hurled it to me, and Big George was out. Ginger! how the Fans yelled for the Farmers. Big George is called the King of the Diamond, and when he made that blunder his team was wrathy. The next fellow at the bat was nervous, and when Jerry gave him the 154

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BOB KNIGHTi s DIARY ON A FARM he struck at it and ran; I caught the ball, and that fell ow was out. Wow! The next fell ow did better; he managed to reach second but was caught trying to steal third, and Fred put him out with a fly to Jerry. The next f ellow was not satisfied with taking the first but must go on to second and third and lost them, although he tried hard, throwing himself on the ground and sliding through the dust. No -use trying to tell all that happened in that in ning, for it was the loosest playing I ever saw. The Poplarports became careless of their hits and got cross and snappy and muddled and did not try to play. But I tell you what! Jerry gave the batters fair balls, every one of them. Then the Poplarports took the field, and we Farmers had our first inning with Jerry at the bat. Jingo! The first thing he did was a four-base hit which sailed sky-high. 156

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM The Fans yelled: "Jerry Green isn't green at the bat. Ha-ha-ha-ha!" Jerry made the best record of the Farmers. There was a great shout when Poky took the bat; he is left-handed. Big George was pitcher and gave him muffs. But Poky can hit any kind of a ball and can run like the wind, sliding to base to avoid being tagged. He made a good record, although Big George peeled off a couple of fouls and tried a number of his tricky stunts on Poky. But he did not muddle Poky one bit. He reached the plate, scoring one for the Farmers. Fred' did capital playing, raising the Farmers' score every time. Fred is a good player wherever he is placed, infield or outfield or at the bat. That fellow named Beeswax knows how to play ball, too. In fact Cap, Ducky, Kid, and Doc all helped to win the game-5 to o, in favor of the Farmers. Cap is a sure catch, Ducky a capital fel low at a base. Doc is a grayhound of a runner, and Poky is a first-cla?s shortstop. We Farmers played so fast and hard, our innings went like a flash. We seemed to be in good luck, and the Poplarports in bad luck all the way through. Umpire Kelley was not needed, but he did a good deal of bossing all 157

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM the same. I wonder what Kelley thinks of the Farmers' playing. I tell you what! they are not to be sneezed at. I am proud of them. After the game we marched up the road in triumph with a gang of boys tagging us. We Farmers walked along just as if we were used to winning every game we played. I heard someone behind us sing out: "Three cheers for the Farmers." I looked around and saw the Hermit waving his hat. We fellows stopped and waited for him to catch up with us. "Did you see the game?" Jerry asked. "Guess I did," the Hermit answered. 158

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "I thought I heard some pretty loud cheering in the crowd,'' I said. "I was there, cheering you on," he said, coming up to us. We fellows were walking too fast for him, so we slowed up and walked home with him. Fred left us at the cross-road. We all yelled: "Three cheers for Cider-Mill!" Fred laughed and waved his cap. "How do you like to play ball with us farm ers?" the Hermit asked Jerry. He answered: "Tiptop! Give me ball-players from the farmers every time. Farmer boys have the right kind of grit and muscle. Cra dling wheat and hoeing corn and mowing weeds make the muscle for first-class batting and pitching and catching and running. Humph! the Poplarport boys' muscles are soft. Not the kind I want on my team." The Hermit said: "Jerry, you've hit it right. The farm is the place to train boys for ball players, and for good strong men whether they are going to be farmers or business men or professional men." We fellows shouted:

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BOB KNIGHT' S DIARY ON A FARM "Three cheers for the Farmer-Boy! We're going to be Farmers! Rah, rah, rah! F-A-R-M-E-R-S, Farmers!" When we got back to the farm, we hustled around and did the chores. When we were eating supper, Poky said to the Hermit: "Did you catch a woodchuck for our supper to-morrow?" "Yes, a fat one. I dressed it and hung it down the well in a pail to keep cool," the Hermit answered. "Hurrah! won't we have a feast!" cried Poky. The Hermit said: "Yes, and I got some frog legs and mushrooms, and leeks and elder berries and honey-" "Honey?" said Poky. "Where'd you get it?" The Hermit laughed, saying: "You boys didn't know you had a swarm of bees laying up honey for you, did you?" "No, where is it?" I asked. The Hermit pointed over his shoulder, saying: "Behind the clapboards of your house in that corner by the well." "How did you discover it?" Jerry asked. lfhe Hermit said: "Ever since we've had the 16o

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM farm, I've noticed honey-bees flying about, and I watched to see where they went, and I found them going into the corner of the house where those boards are off. So t'other day I peeked in and saw the combs of honey." Poky and I looked at each other and did not say a word for a few seconds, then Poky said: "Bob, do you recollect that day a man asked us about a swarm of bees?" "I do. That honey doesn't belong to us," I said. "What?" said the Hermit. Then we told him about the man inquiring about a swarm of bees. "The bees must be his. We'll have to tell him about it," said the Hermit. "Those bees have been gathering honey from our clover and mint, so half of it belongs to us," said Poky. "Maybe Mr. Barney won't think so," saicl the Hermit. "We want some for Polly's supper," said Poky. "I'll take a little and pay Mr. Barney for it," said the Hermit. "I still think those bees belong to us, because they live in out house," said Poky. 161

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM We spent the evening cleaning up the kitchen and back porch, and all the time we talked about the ball game. "I'm proud of our team," said Jerry, as he was washing the windows. "Jingo! so am I," said Poky, scrubbing the floor with the broom. "I never saw better playing outside the pro fessionals," said I. "I wish we could join the Eastern League, but I suppose they wouldn't take us; we haven't any reputation yet, but we will have. By next year every ball-player will know how well we play,'' said Jerry, getting excited. "We'll have to be an independent team," said I. "The Farmers' team will be known all over New York State before another season," Jerry predicted. "Then the Eastern League will be asking us to join them," said I. "Of course they will," said Jerry. We fellows scrubbed and talked playing-ball till nine o'clock. Then we went to bed. And we kept right on talking all night long. I heard Jerry say in his sleep: "Put it straight, boys." Then again in the middle of the night, he yelled: "Run, Bob, run for your 162

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM life, there's an opening between shortstop and third." Again he said: "Push the ball through for a base!" Poky was yelling: "Foul! Foul! Hey, there, Skinny! leg it or you're a goner." I can't recollect all they said, for I was so sleepy I could not hear straight. But those two boys kept talking in their sleep all night long. Sunday, August I I. THE first thing Jerry said this morning was : "I must get the team together to-day and practice." "It's Sunday," said Poky. "Is it? Well, seeing that I can't play ball, I'll go to church," said Jerry. The Hermit came to breakfast, and after the chores were done, he marched us off to church. Fred was there. "Hollo, Cider-Mill !" we three fellows called, when we saw him under the horse-shed, tying Kit and Charlie. He nodded to us. During the sermon we three fellows went fast asleep and what woke us up was the min ister saying:

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Next Wednesday afternoon the scholars of our Sunday-school will go to Lewis's grove for a picnic." "What?" said Poky, right out loud. "Sh-s-s-s !" went the Hermit. "Arn I dreaming?" Poky whispered to me. "No, it's a real picnic, I told him. Then we three fellows straightened up and paid attention till church was out. We went with Fred to his class, and he told us that each of us fellows must ask a girl to go with us to the picnic. Poky slid off the seat on to the floor, saying: "I shan't do it." "Every boy in the school asks one of the girls to go with him," Fred told Poky. "We don't know the girls in this school," I told Fred. "It doesn't make any difference, you must ask them just the same," said Fred. "You're crazy," said Jerry. "I'm not, it's the truth," said Fred. "I'm going to that picnic, and I'm not going to take a girl," said Poky. "There're lots of pretty girls in this Sunday school," said Fred. When the teacher was busy showing a map to the scholars, he slid 164

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM along the wall and opened a door a crack and p e eked into the next room, then he beckoned to us fellows to look in. I slid along the wall and looked in and saw a row of girls in a class. One was all in pink, the other in blue. "Which one do you choose?" Fred asked. "The one in pink," said I. I GiRL i N PiNk. I G iN BLui. Fred poked me in the ribs, saying: "You can't have her, she's mine." I looked again, and said: "If I can't have the one in pink, I ll take the one in biue." "All right, said Fred. Then he beckoned to Jerry. Jerry slid along the wall, and he said: "I choose the one in pink." 165

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BOB KNIGHT'S D!ARY ON A FARM "Can't have her, she's mine," said Fred. "I will," said Jerry. "You won't," said Fred. "Then I don't choose any," said Jerry, slid ing back to his seat. Fred beckoned to Poky, and he slid along the wall to the door. "Which girl in that class would you like to take to the picnic? You can't have the one in pink or the one in blue," Fred said. "Oh, say! I want the one in pink," said Poky. "She's mine, you can't have her," said Fred. "All right, I won't take any," said Poky. The teacher looked up, saying; "Boys, boys, what are you doing?" So we sat still and did not say anything more about the girl in pink till we were outside under the horse-shed with Fred. Then Jerry said: "If you want me to invite a girl to the picnic, introduce me to the one in pink." Fred did not answer but went on untying his team, then he backed it out of the shed and drove up to the horseblock for his grandparents and aunt. We watched him drive down the road, and Jerry said: "Tisn't fair for Fred to take the prettiest 166

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM girl in the class for himself, then ask us fellows to choose a gir I." "I suppose he thinks because he goes to the Sunday-school all the time, he has a right to first choice," said I. "If I can't take the girl in pink, I won't take any," declared Jerry. "Nor I," said Poky. "The girl in blue is the next prettiest," said I. "I didn't see any but t11e one in pink," said Jerry. Jerry was getting into a fighting-spirit, so I said: "Aw! let Fred take the girl in pink. We fellows can go by ourselves." "I won't let him take her. She's the prettiest girl I ever saw," said Jerry. "Aw! forget her," said Poky. The Hermit was ahead of us, and we ran to catch up with him, and so we did not say anything more about the girl in pink. We had a slim luncheon, just bread-and milk, because we were saving all the good things for Polly. We sat under the cherry trees and read our Sunday-school books during the afternoon, till it was time to prepare the supper. The Hermit was chief cook. because he knows how to 167

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM boil woodchucks and fry froglegs and cream mushrooms and do all such wild-cookery. We fellows set the table and pared the potatoes and did all the easy work. The dinner was boiling when Polly arrived. She was all dressed up m a lace collar and a rose. We fellows yelled: "Who's all right? Polly is all right! Rah, rah, rah! Polly!" "Thanks, boys," she said, sitting down in Jerry's hammock under the trees. "Warm day, Miss Polly," said the Hermit, taking off his hat and fanning himself with it. "Yes, sir, it is," she said. "It's very kind of you to come to see us," said Jerry. "I'm sure it's kind of you to invite me. I seldom get a chance to eat other people's cook ing, and I get tired of my own," she said. 168

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "I never get tired of Polly's cooking," I said. "Nor I," Jerry and Poky both said together. Polly smiled. The Hermit went into the house to look after the woodchuck, and Polly said: "Say, boys, what's the Hermit's name?" Jerry and I shook our heads, and Poky said: "He hasn't any other name but Hermit." Just then the Hermit came out of the house to draw a pail of water from the well, and Poky ran to help him. When Poky came back he whispered: "His name is Benjamin Miller." "There!" said Polly. "I knew he had an other name." "First time I ever heard it," said Jerry. Poky said: "I suppose when he was a kid everybody called him Ben Miller." "I'm always going to call him the Hermit," said I. "So am I," said Jerry. Then Polly said: "Go in the house, boys, and help Mr. Miller with the supper, you needn't stay out here to entertain me. Go on, I say, all of you." She shooed us away as if we were a flock of chickens. We three fellows ran into the house and 109

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM helped the Hermit put the steaming-hot supper on the table. Then Jerry went to escort Polly to her seat at the table. "Where's Miss Jinks?" she asked, looking around the kitchen. "We'll call her to wash the dishes when we've eaten up everything," said I, winking at Poky. He took the hint and said: "We'll introduce you to Miss Jinks before you go home, Polly." The Hermit handed Polly a plate heaping full, and she began to eat the woodchuck first. "Well, what kind of meat is this, anyway?" she asked, laying down her knife and fork, as she looked at the Hermit. "Ground-hog. Do you like it?" he asked. Polly screwed up her face, saying: "Bah! I'd never eaten the heathenish thing if I'd known what it was. But seeing I've begun on it, I might as well finish it." "What did you think it was?" I asked. "By the looks I thought it was an old hen, but by the taste I made up my mind it was spring chicken," she replied. "Ha-ha-ha!" laughed the Hermit. It pleased him to hear Polly call his woodchuck spring chicken.

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM When Polly tasted the frog legs, she said: "Well, this is spring chicken, I know." "Froglegs,'' said the Hermit. "Bah!" went Polly, making up a frightful face. Then she said: "I never ate those croaking things before." We boys laughed and told her that froglegs were a treat to us. "Eat them then, I won't," she said, pushing her plate away from her. "Have some fried mushrooms,'' I said, passing the dish to her. "Toadstools! Indeed I'll not taste the poisonous things," she said, .making up an other face. "I'm sorry you don't like our dinner," the Hermit said. "There's nothing on the table fit to eat but the 'taters,'' she declared, helping herself to a couple of potatoes. When she tasted the tea, she twisted her face all out of shape, saying: "My, oh, my! What do you call this ?" The Hermit said: "I'm sorry we haven't any of your kind of tea. I always drink herb-tea, made of pennyroyal, boneset, catnip, and other mints."

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Polly shook her head, saying: "I'm sorry for you, sir, if you don't drink good strong black tea. It's good to set your spirits up. I'll bring you some the next time I come here." The Hermit thanked her, and said that he liked his herb-tea better than any other kind. After Polly had eaten five potatoes, I passed the honey. She squinted her eyes at it, asking: "What wild stuff are you offering me now?" "It's honey, straight and pure/' said I. But Polly hesitated about taking any, till the Hermit said: "It isn't wild-bees' honey, it's made by Cy Barney's bees." "Well, I'll try it," she said, taking a spoonful. After tasting it, she said: "Yes, it's all right." "Do you eat blackberries?" the Hermit asked, handing her a saucer heaping full. "Yes," she said, "I'm fond of them." While she was eating the berries, Poky slipped away from the table and crept up stairs. Pretty soon we all got up from the table, and the Hermit said: "I'm sorry our meal didn't please you, Miss Polly." "Ah!" she said, "it's all I expected. Men and boys can't cook anything fit to eat." 172

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Just then Poky came downstairs dressed in his skirts and sunbonnet. Going to the stove, he began slamming the pots and kettles around, making a great racket. Polly stared at him. I sang out: "Miss Jinks, hustle up and wash the dishes." Jerry walked up to Poky and hit him a slap on the back, saying: "Hurry up, old gal, no monkeying." Polly straightened up as stiff as a poker, saying, "Boys, boys, don't be so rough with the girl. I'm ashamed of you. Be gentle men." Jerry said: "Oh, she's used to it." Polly walked up to Poky, and said: "Miss Jinks, don't you stand such treatment from these boys. Make them behave themselves." Poky turned his head away from Polly and snickered. "Is she foolish?" Polly asked me. Poky giggled out loud. "Is she crazy?" Polly asked Jerry. Poky burst out laughing, and Polly recog nized his laugh. Grabbing him by the shoulder, she whirled him around, saymg: "Poky, you good-for-nothing boy!" 173

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Don't I make a good-looking girl?" Poky asked, laughing all the time. "Take off those clothes this instant," Polly demanded, giving him a slap on the arm. Poky ran upstairs, stumbling all the way up, for he is not used to wearing skirts. "How do you like our Miss Jinks?" Jerry asked. "Aw! Go 'long with you, Jerry Green! It's just like you to be cutting up this way," said Polly, going out in the yard where the Hermit was. Jerry and I went, too. Polly said to us : "Go in the house and wash the dishes." "We never wash them when we have com pany," Jerry told her. "That's just like your kind of housekeeping. You must have a woman here to boss you,'' Polly said. Poky hollered out of the upstairs window, "No, we don't. Miss Jinks is our boss." "Mr. Miller, do make these boys behave themselves," said Polly to the Hermit. He laughed, saying, "The boys are cutting up because you are here. They behave them selves when we are alone." "Then I think I'd better go," said Polly, 174

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM gathering up her skirts, as if she intended to start for home. "Polly, oh, Polly! don't go," we boys yelled. "Then wash your dishes," she said. So to please her we went in the house and began wrestling with the dishes, and we could hear her talking to the Hermit. She said: "I don't see what you are going to make out of this run-down farm, everything is going to grass and weeds." The Hermit said: "The boys are working like good fellows, pulling and digging weeds And we have sowed turnips in the garden. And I'm repairing the fences and trimming the dead-wood out of the trees in the orchard." "But where are your crops?" she asked. "We're getting the farm ready to sow them next year. We're going to fertilize and plow the land this fall," he explained to her. I came running out of the house, saying: "Corne to the barn, Polly, and see our crop of hay." She followed me, saying: "Well, well, boys, this looks a little like farming." When we came out of the barn, Poky was leading the cow to the barnyard to milk her. 175

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "You have a fine cow," she said, going to see Poky milk. Then we showed her our rooster and hens, and our big fat pig in the orchard. "Whew! it is fat," she said. "Yes, it's twice the size it was when Mr. Ashford gave it to us," I told her. 0 vR "Well, boys," she said, "the Hermit is going to make farmers of you, I can see that plain enough. And I wish you all the good luck in the world. But I must keep an eye on you to see that you have cakes and pies once in awhile. You can't live all the time on wild things that grow in the woods. They are not good for you; you must have pie and cake now and then." We fellows shouted: 176

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Who's our friend? Polly is our friend I Polly, Polly, Polly!" It was late when Polly started for Poplar Hill School, so we three fellows went with her. E scollTiAIG PoLLY HoME There was a full moon, but Poky walked ahead, carrying the lantern to scare away the skunks. Monday, August 12. THE first thing Jerry did this morning was to talk about another ball game that is to come off this week Saturday between the Poplar ports and our team, the Farmers. The Hermit, hearing him, said: "Boys, I've got some work for you to do to-day in Owl Creek. We must clean it out down in the pasture; the cow must have a deeper drinking-177

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BOB KNIGBT' S DIARY ON A FARM place. A lot of brush and stones have fallen in the creek; and now the water is low, it's a con venient time to clear it." We boys think so much of our cow that we are willing and ready to do anything for her. "'RV e started for the pasture, taking hoes and rakes along to haul out the rubbish. We worked there till noon, then we came up to the house for dinner. We had so much fun clear-Off THf BR iDbE ing the creek in the pasture, that we decided to clear the rest of the stream that runs through our farm. I don't know what Fred was doing all day I did not see him till I went to the canal for a swim. He dives off the railing of the bridge now. So do Jerry, Poky, and all of u s We 178

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM stand in a row, and take turns diving one at a time. "Swimming in the canal is the best fun we have," I sang out, as I dove off the railing of the bridge. "'Tain't either, baseball is the best fun," cried Jerry, diving after me. We dove and swam till pitch dark, then we ran up and down the tow-path to dry ourselves, and then we p'-1.t on our clothes and started for our farm. On the way Jerry guyed Fred about the girl in pink. He said: "Say, Fred, how's your pink girl?" Fred laughed, saying: "She's all right." He likes to be teased about her. "Is she going to the picnic with you?" Jerry asked. "Of course she is," Fred answered up, quick and brave. I asked: "What shall we fellows bring? Biscuits, cake, or-" "You needn't bring anything, the Sunday school furnishes the grub and the lemonade," said Fred. "That's the kind of a Sunday-school to go to," said Poky, scuffing through the dust with his feet. We always walk honie barefoot. 179

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Fred did not say anything more till he left us, then he called back: "Are you fellows going to take a girl to the picnic?" "No," we three answered. "All right," he answered, and skipped off home. When we were getting ready for bed, Poky said: "I wish the picnic was to-morrow." "We have work to do, clearing the ditches in the meadow," I told him. "That's so, I forgot," he said, tumbling into bed. Tuesday, August 13. THE Hermit brought us some elderberries for our breakfast; we ate them with scrambled eggs and crackers. Then we started for the meadow to dig ditches wider and deeper, so that our land will be well drained in time of wet weather. We did not have much fun, yet I kept thinking how fast we were improving our little farm. I said: "Mr. Hermit, how fortunate we f el lows are in having you for our boss." "How do you happen to know so much about farming?" Jerry asked him. "I was brought up on a farm," he said. 180

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Before you lived in the woods?" Poky asked him. "Yes," said he, "when I was a boy I lived about ten miles from here on a farm." We fellows wanted to ask him more ques tions about his life, but he went to digging away in the ditch, so I thought he did not want to tell us anything more. But I am going to ask him more questions some day when he is not so busy. We worked all day, and we did not have any fun but eating our dinner and supper and going to the canal for a swim. Fred was not there. I said to the fellow named Doc: "Say, where's Cider-Mill?" "I saw him in the yard washing his buggy, when I came by," he said. "Humph!" said Jerry, "Fred's getting ready to take that pink girl to the picnic to-morrow." "Sure he is," said Doc, "and I'm going to take a girl, too. I washed my buggy before I milked." Then he dove into the canal, happy as a frog. All the fellows there said that they were going to take a girl to the picnic. Jerry, Poky, and I did not say anything; we left the 181

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM canal before the other fellows did and went across-lots to our farm. On the way, Poky said: "I suppose when we three fellows get to be men, we'll take to the woods and live like the Hermit, for we don't seem to be like the rest of the fellows round here, do we?" I said: "I wonder if the Hermit ever took a girl to a Sunday-school picnic." "I stump you to ask him!" cried Jerry. "So do I," said Poky. "I'll do it," said I. ,That is all that happened to-day. Wednesday, August 14. THE Hermit did not come to breakfast, so we fellows knew that he was not going to set us to work to-day. We took our time feeding the pig and hens and milking the cow. When we were eating breakfast, who should walk into the kitchen but Farmer Fred, with a big white hen under his arm. "Hollo, boys," said he, "I've brought you a hen, so you can have three eggs a day, instead of only two. She's a great layer." "Happy thought!" exclaimed Jerry. "I 182

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I BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM haven't had a whole egg to myself since I've been here." Poky jumped up and took the hen, saying: "My! but she's a beauty!" Then he ran with her to the roost. Fred said: "Keep her shut up for a day or two, so she can't go back to our place." I said: "Fred I wish we had something to give you, but we aren't raising anything this year but turnips." Fred winked at me, saying: "There's an early harvest-apple tree in your orchard. It's about time the apples were ripe." "Apples!" we three farmers exclaimed. And away we ran to the orchard. Sure 183

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM enough There we found a tree, hanging full of yellow apples. Didn't we feel rich? "Help yourself, Fred; we're glad to have something to give you," said I. Fred climbed into the tree and shook it1 and the apples rained down and covered the ground. -=----R v E' ST A PPLE-TtZEf Wow! wasn't it fun! We stayed an hour under the tree, filling up on apples! Fred said: "Boys, take some of these apples to the canal bridge and sell them. You can get a cent apiece for them." "We'll do it," said I. 184

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BOB KNIGHT' S DIARY ON A FARM Pretty soon Fred started for home, with his hat and blouse stuffed full. He is very fond of apples. As he was climbing the fence, he said: "Don't forget the picnic this afternoon, boys." "We're going," said I. On the way to the house, Jerry said : "I haven't a clean shirt or anything else fit to wear. Hang the luck!" "I'll wash, we have plenty of soap and water," said Poky. "I'll go over to Polly's and borrow a couple of flatirons," said I, starting on a run for Poplar Hill School. I carried my hat full of apples, and when I went into the kitchen, I said, "Polly, if you'll let me take a couple of flat irons for a day, I'll give you some of our apples." "Oh, Bob," said she, "I was just longing for a harvest-apple." "Here they are," said I, dumping them on the table. When she handed me the irons she said: "I've been wondering who did your washing." I said: "We haven't washed much." "Bob Knight!" cried Polly. "No," said I, "but every time it rains we 185

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM put our clothes on the gras s and let the ram wash them." "What housekeeping!" she cried. I ran away with the flatirons as fa s t a s I could, because I did not want to hear her scold. When I got back to the hou s e Poky was hanging his clean clothes on the bushes to dry. Jerry was splitting wood and stuffing it into the stove. The lids were dancing like mad. We had to put the flatirons on them to keep them from jumping onto the floor. Poky washed, and Jerry and I ironed all the morn ing. We made a clean job of it, every dud we owned was washed and ironed. We did not eat much dinner, because we were expecting to have a scrumptious supper at the picnic. At one o'clock we rigged up in our clean clothes and set off for Lewis's grove, going across-lots, because we did not want Fred and the rest of the fellows with their girls to pass us on the road. Poky walked ahead of Jerry and me all the way, he was in so great a hurry to get there. We went acro s s our own farm and part of Fred's, then we fol lowed the creek to Mr. Ashford's farm, skirted the woods, crossed his cornfield, and came out on the road a little way this side of Lewis's 186

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM grove. We were just in time to see Fred drive along with the girl in pink. He went lickety-clip past us, leaving a cloud of dust for us to walk in. We were going to holler at him, but we did not, because he had the girl in pink with him. By the time we reached the grove Fred and all the fellows had their horses tied to the trees, and the fellows were talking about a ball game. "Ball game!" exclaimed Jerry. "Yes," said Fred, "we expect to play the Skeeters to-day, but only five of them are here." "And there are only seven of us Farmers," said Kid. "Hard luck," said I. Well, we hung around awhile, waiting for more boys to eome. Pretty soon Beeswax came along, and said: "What do you say to asking the girls to play?" "Girls!" cried Jerry. "Yes, girls. My sister can beat any of you fellows playing ball," said Beeswax. "That'll be fun, let's play," said Jerry, thinking he was going to have easy sport. Fred ran to fetch the bat and ball, and Beeswax 'ran to tell his sister to get together nine girls for her team. He called: "Kate, Kate, .18z

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13013 KNIGHT' S DIARY O N A FAR M we fellows want to play a game of ball with you girls." "All right," a girl answered. In a few min utes four of the Skeeters and five of the Farmers went over to the field back of the grove where we were to play. Beeswax's sister was there with her team, nine girls. Of course, we offered the bat to the girls, but Kate handed it to Beeswax, saying: "Toss it up, and we'll go hand over hand and see who has the first in ning." Beeswax got the last hold of the bat, so the boys had the first inning. Jerry was first in line of the batters. Kate was : .. Pitcher, and she gave him ""'" a fair ball, and he whacked it straight ahead of him, clean over the fence and made the first and second base. He ought not to have tried for third, but he did, and when he was half-way between second and third, the girl in blue ran like a deer and picked up the ball and hurled it to the girl on third base, and Jerry was out. 188

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Hurrah!" I yelled, forgetting that we fellows had lost. Jerry walked slowly away and sat down on the ground, saying: "I was too sure of my self." Fred took the bat, and Kate gave him an easy ball. Fred sent it whizzing and started, with the bat in his hand, for third base in stead of first, because the gir 1 in pink was at third base. We fellows saw his mistake, and we yelled fit to split our throats. The girls yelled, too, and the girl's face was as pink as her dress. Fred slunk away and sat down on the ground be side Jerry. We all laughed so hard we could not play ball for five minutes. When we began playing again it was my turn at the bat. I said to my189

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM self: "Now I'll show these girls how we Farmers play ball." Kate is a superb pitcher, and I sent the ball she gave me flying sky-high and struck out for a home-run, but just before I reached third base, I heard the girls yelling: "Out, out, out!" "Hang the luck!" I said to myself. But I smiled at the girls, for I did not want to let them know how much I cared. Beeswax was wrathy as a hornet at Jerry, Fred, and me for doing such poor playing. When we fellows took our places in the field, he said: "Do your best, boys, don't let the girls beat us." "I didn't know the girls were such good players," said Jerry. "Don't fool yourself, the girls are first-class players," replied Beeswax. In the next inning Kate was at the bat. Jerry was Pitcher. I was Catcher. Jerry was nervous and pitched a low ball; it went scuffing along the ground, and Kate did not try for it. The next ball was fair, and she struck for a home-run. Poky ran for the ball and hurled it to Doc, who muffed it just as Kate reached third base, so she rriade a dash for the plate and got there. Wow! how we 190

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM all cheered! We could not help it! I tell you what! Kate is a crackerjack at baseball! The girl in pink was the next one at the bat. I saw Jerry cast a revengeful glance at her. Fred called to him, "Fair play, Jerry Green." Pi N IC Jerry did not answer, but he threw an easy ball to her; she struck at it but did not hit it. She laughed. I caught the ball and tossed it to Jerry, and he gave her another easy one. 191

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM She hit it and reached first base. Then the girl in blue took the bat, hit it and got to first base, and the girl in pink ran to second. Then a girl, I don't know her name, took the bat, hit the ball and reached first base. And while all three girls were running for bases, Fred had the ball, and he was so interested in watching the girl in pink he forgot to throw it. All of us fellows were yelling: "Put it here. Here! Here!" But Fred held on to the ball and let all three girls make the plate. Wow there was some loud talking among the fellows for a few minutes. Jerry kicked the bat off the field, saying: "Count me out." Beeswax said: "Pshaw! you fellows needn't think you've got to favor the girls, they know how to play ball." Doc and Kid thought it a great joke, and 192

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM they laughed at Jerry and Beeswax. I think there would have been a fight, but just then a young lady came to the fence with a chocolate cake on her hand, calling: "Come, girls and boys, supper is ready." That chocolate-cake prevented the fight, and is R.EA or ended the ball game for that afternoon. We ball players and all the boys and girls, who had been watching the game, started back to the picnic-grove. On the way I walked with Kate, and I said to her : 193

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "You ought to belong to our team." She laughed, saying: "The Farmers, I hear, are doing better playing, since you boys on Spratt's farm joined the team." "We're going to play the Poplarports Saturday," I told her. "So my brother said," she answered. I tried to think of something else to say, but I could not. So we walked along till we came to the supper-table, then she went to one end where the girls were, and I went where Jerry and Poky were sitting. Poky gave me a poke with his elbow, saying: "It's a wonder you wouldn't introduce a gen tleman to Beeswax's sister." Jerry said: "Bob, you're brave as a lion with the girls." I did not have to answer, for just then the Sunday-school teachers began passing the sand wiches, and we ball players stopped talking and went to eating. Plates of sandwiches, eggs, beans, and cake went flying round so rapidly that we fellows could not eat fast enough to keep up, and the lemonade flowed like spring water. After supper Jerry, Poky, and I thanked our teacher, Mr. Stewart, for our pleasant after-194

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM noon, and then we started for home. We cut across the fields, because we were in a hurry to do the chores before dark. On the way, Jerry said: "Did you know that Beeswax and Kate live in the cobblestone house?" "Cracky !" cried Poky. "That swarm of bees in our house belongs to them." "We ought to tell them of it," said I. "Certainly, we should," said Poky. "Kate is first-class at baseball," said Jerry. "She pitches like a professional," said I. "I wouldn't mind having her on our team," said Jerry. "She beats that girl in pink all to smither eens," said Poky. "Of course she does," Jerry and I said. When we reached our farm we found the Hermit there, doing the chores. We told him about the ball game and Kate. And I said: "We think we ought to tell her father about the bees and honey." The Hermit laughed, saying : "What's your hurry about giving up the honey? I thought you wanted to keep it." Jerry said: "I think we ought to tell Bees wax that his bees are living in our house." 195

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Yes, I think so, too," said the Hermit. While we were talking Poky took the cat and went upstairs. Jerry and I soon followed, and the Hermit went to his hut in the woods. Thursday, August 15. POKY was the first one up this morning, and when Jerry and I went out to do the chores, we found him feeding the pig. He had already milked the cow and fed the hens and the rooster. All three of us cooked the breakfast, and when we were eating, Jerry said: "Let's take some harvest apples to the canal bridge, and sell them to the boatmen." "Let's," said Poky. When the Hermit came, we told him about our plan. He said: "All right." Then we 196

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM went to the orchard, and he showed us a tree full of red apples. We gathered a bushel of them. My! didn't we farmers feel rich! Then we started for the canal bridge. We overtook Fred on the road with a load of straw and a basket of apples and pears. "Oh, say, boys," he called, "there's a break in the canal bank, and a dozen boats are tied up near the bridge. We'll do a big business to-day." "What good luck for us!" said Jerry, jumping on the end of Fred's wagon. Poky and I walked to the bridge where we 197

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BOB KN!GHT'S DIARY ON A FARM found a dozen canal-boats standing in a few feet of water along the banks. The water had been let out, so that the break might be re paired. We did not have to work hard to sell our apples, our baskets were empty in a jiffy. We made three dollars. I don't know how much Fred made, but he sold all his straw and fruit, and then went back home for another load. When we three farmers started for our farm we each had a dollar. "I tell you what! Farming pays," said Poky. "A dollar isn't much," said Jerry. "We made it pretty easy, I think," replied Poky. Jerry did not answer. When we got back to our farm, we looked around for something else to sell. But we could not find a thing. "What luck!" cried Jerry. "Down at the bridge are a lot of customers, and we haven't anything to sell." The Hermit asked: "Are there any women on the boa ts ?" "Oh, yes," said Poky. "Go down to the swamp and gather cat-198

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM tails and take them to the canal bridge. Y ou 'll sell 'em." Jerry hesitated, saying: "Pshaw! who'll buy such trash?" "The women on the boats will be glad to get them," the Hermit told him. Poky took our big knife and started for the swamp. Jerry and I went along. We fol lowed Owl Creek till we came to the swamp. Then we took off our shoes and stockings and waded in after the caf-tails. We worked till milking-time, and then we went back to our farm. It was too l a te to go to the canal bridge to sell our cat t a ils. "Let's go for a swim," said Poky. "Swim!" cried Jerry. "Are you a mud-turtle?" the Hermit asked. "Aw! I forgot the water was out of the canal," said Poky, laughing at his mistake. We went to bed early. Friday, August 16. WE were up early and had the chores all done when the Hermit came to breakfast. Before seven o'clock we started for the canal bridge. All the way there Jerry was doubt -199

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM ful about selling our trash, as he called the cat-tails. But the minute we came in sight of the first boat, we heard a voice calling: "Hollo, there, boys! Want to sell those cat-tails?" ..L----"Yes," all three of us answered, starting on a run down the tow-path. All the women wanted cat-tails. We sold all we had. One of the women put hers in a big pitcher and took them to a cosy little room in the boat. I looked in at the window and saw them. There was a rustic seat and a shelf of books in the room. On the way home we straightened out our cash and found we had $r.25 apiece. 200

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Well," said Jerry, "this is a good sum for that trash." "Aw! go on!" cried Poky, "cat-tails aren't trash." "Surely, those boat-women think they are something," answered Jerry, jingling the sil ver in his pocket. We made so much money in the morning, we rested under the trees all the afternoon and talked about it. "What shall we do with the money?" Poky asked. "We must give it to the Hermit in part payment for the cow," said I. "True as you live!" cried Jerry, "we owe him every cent of it." "I'm willing," said Poky. When the Hermit came at milking-time, we handed him the six dollars and seventy-five cents. He held the money in his hands a second, then said: "All right, boys, that will help pay for the cow." We boys wanted to keep a little of the money in our pockets awhile just to hear it jingle, but, of course, it really and truly belonged to the Hermit, because he bought the cow for us. 201

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM We went to doing the chores and forgot all about it. At sunset, Jerry said: "We're going to have a fair day to-morrow for our game." The Hermit squinted his weather-eye at the sky, saying, "Rain to-morrow." Jerry did not answer him, but when we went up to bed, he said to me: "The Hermit is off his weather-guess to-night. We're going to have a fair day to-morrow." I said, "I never knew the Hermit to fail on the weather question." Jerry grunted as he tumbled into bed with Poky. I went outdoors in the hammock. Saturday, August 17. THE first thing I saw this morning was the sun coming up bright and clear. And I heard Jerry hollering out of the upstairs window: "Hurrah for the Farmers!" "Hurrah for the Farmers!" I answered. We ball players were in high spirits while we were doing the chores. But when Jerry had milked the cow, the sun went under a cloud. Jerry looked at the big gray cloud, saying: "The sun will be out again in a minute." 202

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BOB KNIGHT S DIAR Y ON A FARM But the Hermit shook his head, saying: "Rain to-day." Jerry kicked over the milking-stool, saying: "I will play ball to-day, rain or shine." Fred came over about nine o'clock to talk about the game. He said: "Boys, it's going to rain this afternoon and spoil our game." When Fred said "rain," Jerry began to fume and rage. "We'll go to the grounds and do the best we can," Fred said. Then he leaped the fence and put for home. We fellows did not do much but get ready to go to the game. At one o'clock we started. We overtook Fred and Beeswax on the way, and when we got to the grounds the rest of the team were there waiting for us. "How about the weather, Cid e r Mill?" Big George a s ked Fred. Fred shook his head, saying: "It's gomg to spoil our game, sure." "Let's begin right away and play till it rains," Big George proposed. "All right, tell Kelley to call the game," said Fred, running to fetch the bat and ball. In the first inning Texas Jack was at the bat. Jerry, Pitcher; Fred, Catcher ; the rest of us 203

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM fellows were in the field. I was at third base. I watched the clouds when I did not have my eye on the ball, and I thought the looked favor able for our game. But the c 1 o u d s gathered fast, and before Texas Jack could make third TE y.. A s J ,.. c base, the rain came, a regular downpour. We fellows ran for shelter under a big maple. For awhile we were jolly, but when the rain did not let up, Texas Jack began to grumble. Beeswax tried to encourage the boys by saying: "It's only a shower." "It's going to rain all the afternoon," cried Fred, kicking the trunk of the tree. "It will soak the ground," said Doc. "It's a quagmire now," said Ducky. "We'll call the game off," said Jerry. "Postpone the game," said Fred. "When shall we play it?" I asked. "When it stops raining," said Big George, drawing his head down into his collar, and making a dive into the rain. The rest of us fellows followed. We 204

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Farmers went down the road on a dog-trot all the way to our farm. When one of the fellows came to his house he dropped out of line and left us without saying a word. When we three fellows came to our farm, we turned in the gate, and I sang out: "Brace up, Cider-Mill. Better luck again." Fred trotted on, calling back: "If we had played the game, the Farmers would hav e beaten the Poplarports, sure pop." "Course we would," we three answered. We found the Hermit in the house greasing his boots. We told him about the rain spoiling our game, and he said: "Oh, that's bad luck, boys. But probably the sun will shine next Saturday." Jingo! how long the afternoon was I thought milking-time would never come. The Hermit and Poky scrubbed the kitchen floor. Jerry and I sat on the porch and grumbled about the rain. After supper we went to bed early, because we wanted to forget about that game we did not play. Sunday, August 18. THE sun was shining when we a woke, and Jerry said: "I wish we could have that lost 205

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM game to-day. The ground must be dry enough by now." "What you talking about I It's Sunday," said Poky. "Jerry is always forgetting Sunday," said I. Jerry did not want to go to church, but the Hermit said: "Come along, Jerry, it will help you to forget your disappointment." Poky did not want to go, either. Yet he said: "Boys, we ought not to stay home from Sunday-school to-day, because the teachers gave us a first-class picnic last week." So we went with the Hermit. All the way to cqurch Jerry kicked every stone he came across i n t h e road. But he seemed to feel better when he got there. I saw Fred. k A T E He looked cross and glum. I did not speak to him till I went in the Sunday-school room, then just to cheer him up, I said: "How's the girl in pink ?" Fred laughed, saying: "How's Kate?" 2o6

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Jingo! is she here?" I asked. Fred pointed to the next room, saying: "In there." I looked in and saw her. She did not see me. Then I sat up straight the rest of the time and listened to Mr. Stewart tell about Samson killing a lion. That story pleased Jerry; he never winked all the time Mr. Stewart was talking. After Sunday-school was out, I saw Kate and Beeswax drive down the road toward the cobblestone house. We fellows went home with the Hermit. We had a slim dinner, but I kept thinking all the time that, perhaps, Polly might bring us something good for supper. Jerry was thinking of the same thing, for when he got up from the table, he said: "I'm saving my appetite for Polly's dough nuts." "So am I," said Poky. We sat under the trees in the yard and waited for her to come. Every two minutes Jerry would look at his watch; after awhile he fell asleep. I did not wake him when I saw Polly coming along the fence. But I ran to help her climb over, because the fence is high; and I carried her big basket. 207

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Bob, did you expect me to-day?" she asked. "Oh, yes, we've been looking for you all the afternoon," I told her. Jerry and Poky heard us talking and came running toward us, calling: "Hollo, Polly, glad to see you." We all wanted to carry the big basket, but Jerry took it away from me and ran for the house. Poky and I walked slowly with Polly. She laughed to see Jerry sprint ahead of us. I do really believe she likes us boys. As we walked past the garden, she cast her eye at it, saying: "Boys, you've got a good crop of turnips, they're coming up just to suit me." "We'll give you some when we dig them," I told her. 2o8

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Thanks," said she, "but you'd better sell them to pay your taxes." Polly and I sat under the trees and talked about the farm, while Jerry and Poky prepared the supper. I started to tell her about the ball game we did not play, but she stopped me, saymg: "Aw! can't you farmers find enough to do on your land without wasting your time down at the village, playing ball with the hoodlums?" I laughed, saying: "Polly, I wager you never played a game of ball, did you ?" "I'm proud to say I never did," said she. "Then you don't know the fun we fellows have," I told her. "Well, well, I suppose it's all right for boys to play ball, 'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.' But it's my opinion that you three boys are all play and very little work," she said, looking very serious. For a minute I did not know what to say, then I thought of something. I said: "We're going to work in earnest, beginning early next spring." "You'll never kill yourself working," she said, shaking her head, as if she knew all about it.

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM I wanted to tell Polly about the game of ball we played with the girls at the picnic, but I did not dare, for fear of making Polly wrathy at all the girls in our Sunday-school. While I was talking to Polly I kept one ear listening to what the boys were doing in the kitchen. I heard the oven-door open and shut a good many times, and I wondered what Poky was baking. But I did not find out until I went into the house for supper. Polly sniffed the air of the kitchen as she went in, saying: "I smell shortcake." Poky grinned and said: "Aw, Polly! You've got the smellers of a fox." Tastjng the elderberry shortcake, she said: "Poky, it might be worse; truly, I've made worse ones myself." Poky's mouth grinned wider and wider. The Hermit did not come to supper, and Polly said: "Where's your friend, Mr. Benja min Miller ?" "Oh, prowling through the woods and fields," said Poky. "You boys are lucky to have him for your friend," said Polly. "We know it," said I. Polly's eyes were wandering all over the 210

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM kitchen while she was eating. She said: "You boys keep things cleaner than you did." Poky thanked her, at the same time he winked at Jerry and me, giving us the hint not to tell that we did not clean up but once a week when we expected her to supper. When we were through eating we did the chores. Polly stayed to see us milk the cow and feed the pig and fowls. "You'll get a big price for your pig. There's many a pound of lard on her," said Polly. "Oh, we're never going to sell our pig, we think too much of her," Poky said. "You'll have to sell her, if you're going to make farming pay," said Polly. We fellows did not answer, for we had never thought of parting with our big fat pig. The thought of it made us sad as we walked home with Polly. On the way back, Jerry said: "Hang the luck! I wish Polly hadn't men tioned our selling the pig." "I know it," said I. "When we have to sell or kill any of our stock, it takes all the poetry out of farming." "Such is life," sighed Poky. And we three fellows went to bed. 211

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Monday, August 19. THE Hermit was on time for breakfast. We saved him a piece of Poky's elderberry short cake. When he tasted it, he said: "It's my opinion that you spoil the berries putting them in a shortcake." The Hermit likes to eat everything in its wild state. So, of course he did not like Poky's shortcake. After breakfast he told us fellows to go to Mr. Ashford's farm and ask him if he had any work for us to do. "All right," said Jerry. "I'm glad to do anything for Mr. Ashford," said I. Poky put his hand on his arm, saying: "My muscle is at Mr. Ashford's service." We three started up the road. We did not take the short-cut across the fields, because we wanted to go by Fred's farm to see what he was doing. When we came in sight of the house, I called: "Hollo, Farmer Fred!" "Hollo, Farmers!" he answered, coming from the barn where he had been at work in the hay mow. 212

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Shall we play the Poplarports Saturday?" Jerry asked. "If it doesn't rain," Fred answered. Then he asked: "Where're you going? Why aren't you home pulling weeds ?" "We're out looking for work," Poky told him. fA RM E R FR E o's Hou s E "Better work at home; you can find enough to do on that quack-grass patch of yours," Fred said, laughing all the while. "You won't laugh at our farm next summer," said Poky. "We're going to have a model farm," said Jerry. "We're going to show you men around here how to make thirty-nine acres pay," said I. 213

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BOB :KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Mr. Spratt will come back some day and claim his farm," said Fred. "If he does," said I, "he'll have to pay all the back taxes and also a big price to us for pulling weeds and for all the labor we fellows have done on the place." "Bob is talking like an old farmer," said Fred, winking at Jerry and Poky. "Certainly, I know all about it," said I, winking at Jerry and Poky: Fred laughed, saying: "Farming is all right." "That's what I say," said Jerry. "Nothing like it," said I. _a---:,...., "I'm glad I'm a farmer said Poky ;,; ::; ... ... ". r-<'. : 1 { .. Fred said: Don t you ,; ,::-. \'' :-_, A fellows want to see my -/ -. ---; r;;>:: rabbits? I've got some ----: : fine ones." "' "Oh, yes," we said, T l p following Fred to the woodpile where the rab bits were. Pointing to a big fellow, Fred said: "This is Tip. I think a good deal of him. Beeswax offered me fifty cents for him, but I wouldn't sell him." 214

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "He's worth a dollar," said Jerry. "Course he is," said Poky. Another rabbit came out of the woodpile and stood on its hind legs to look at us. It was as tame as a kitten. Its name is Cute. "How much will you take for this one ?" Jerry asked. Fred shook his head, sayisg: "Cute isn't for sale." Just then a black rabbit stuck its head out from behind the wood pile. "I'd like to buy this one," I said. "Come here, Jim Crow," Fred called, and the black rabbit hopped to him. Picking him up, Fred said: "Jim Crow isn't for sale." J ( "Aw! sell us some I M R. 0 W rabbits," said Jerry. 215

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "I've sold all I'm going to this year, I'm keeping these for pets," Fred told us. "What else have you?" Jerry asked. "A cat," said Fred, pointing to the back porch where a cat was sitting. "That's a fine cat, almost as fine as ours," said Poky. Poky is a judge of cats. We were enjoying ourselves so much that we forgot to go, till Jerry looked at his watch and said that it was half-past eleven. "Where's the morning gone to!" he ex claimed. "We'd better make tracks for Mr. '.Ashford's," said Poky. "No, it's too near dinner-time, he'll think we came to dinner," said I. "Stay to dinner with me," said Fred. We thanked him and started for our farm, going across the fields, taking the path that Fred takes when he comes to see us. It is narrow but well-trodden. "Jingo!" cried Poky, "Fred is making a path between his farm and ours." 216

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Farmer Fred is all right," said I. We could not find the Hermit when we reached our farm, so we ate bread-and-milk, then we started again for Mr. Ashford's farm. But we did not go down the road past Fred's farm; we went through the woods and fields. When we got there, Mrs. Ashford said that Mr. Ashford had gone to the blacksmith's to get his team shod. So we came back, following Owl Creek. And we came across our old boat The Bullfrog stuck in the mud. "Boys," said I, "doesn't it seem good to meet an old friend once in awhile?" Poky jumped into it, yelling, "All aboard for Poplarport !" Jerry examined it, saying: "We can't do anything with it till the water rises in the creek." "The fall rains will float it," said I. "What fun we had building that boat!" said I. "Didn't we, though!" said Jerry. Poky hunted in the rushes and found the oars. "Here are the oars, safe and sound," said he. "Good!" cried Jerry, "we'll take a ride in The Bullfrog some wet day." 2r7

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM We hung around our old boat till nearly milking-time, then we scudded for our farm. The Hermit was there. "Well, boys," said he, "what is M.r. Ash ford doing on his place?" I looked at Jerry, Jerry looked at Poky, and Poky looked at me. "What have you been working at to-day?" the Hermit asked. Jerry nodded for me to explain, so I said : "We've been tramping to-day." "Tramping!" the Hermit repeated. Then I told him all that we had been doing. "Humph!" said he. "That's just like boys." "We'll start early to-morrow morning for Mr. Ashford's, going through the fields and woods," said I. "See that you do," said he, walking off toward the barn. "Whew!" said Poky. "I never saw the Hermit cross before." "He'll get over it," said I. Jerry and I did the chores, and Poky cooked the supper. The Hermit was very quiet at the table; he did not say anything to us fellows. After we had washed the dishes, we went to bed, and he went to his hut. 218

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BOB KNIGHT'S ON A FARM Tuesday, August 20. THE Hermit did not come to breakfast. We were up early and did the chores and were ready to start for Mr. Ashford's before seven o'clock. The grass and weeds in the fields were so wet with dew that we took off our shoes and stock ings and went barefoot. "Hollo, Farmers!" Mr. Ashford called, when we came in sight. He was in his wagon house, harnessing his team. "Hollo, Mr. Ashford!" we answered. "How's your turnip-crop?" he asked. "Growing like weeds," said Poky. "Ha-ha-ha-ha! That's good news," he replied. "Want any help to-day?" I asked. "I always want help," he answered. "Then we're the men for you," said Poky. We went in the wagon-house and helped him buckle the harness. And I asked: "What are you going to do on the farm to-day?" "Drawing manure to the ten-acre lot," said he. He waited a second or two, then he said: "Last year I'd liked your help, but I've bought a new manure-spreader, and I'm going to use it for the first time this morning." 219

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "We'll help you load up," said I. "Oh, no, John and I will do that. You boys play while you have a chance; your turn to work will come soon enough," Mr. Ashford told us, as he started with his team to hitch onto the wagon that had the new manure-spreader on the back end of it. We fellows looked on while he and John, his hired-man, loaded the wagon; then we went with them to the ten-acre lot to see the machine scatter the manure. "We must have one of those machines for our farm," said Jerry. "They cost money," said Poky. "We'll have to follow the old-fashioned way for awhile," I told the fellows. "Not if I can get father to give us the money for a spreader," said Jerry. "That's the way to talk," said Poky. After awhile we started for home, taking the cross-road which goes by the cobblestone house. "Here's where Beeswax lives, let's go in and see him," Jerry proposed. "Say we do," said Poky. "Let's tell him about his swarm of bees in our house," I said. "Hoo-hoo, hoo-hoo !" Poky called. 220

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Hoohoo, hoo-hoo !" someone answered. And pretty soon Beeswax came out of the orchard and stood by the fence. "How are you?" Jerry asked. "Sick," said he. "What's the matter?" Jerry asked. "That rain last Saturday made me sick," he said, laughing. "It was enough to make any ball player sick," said Jerry. We walked into the yard and there we saw Kate in the midst of her poultry. She looked like a little girl flying through the air. Jerry backed up behind a bush, trying to hide his bare feet, but I did not, for I saw that Kate was barefooted, too. 221

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "How is the Farmer's team?" she said, laughing all the while. "All right," said I. "Going to play next Saturday?" she asked. "Certainly," said Jerry. "We want you for pitcher," said I. "I hear Jerry Green is professional," she re plied. We walked toward her, but we could not get anywhere near her, because the fowls were all around her on all sides. "Whose poultry?" Jerry asked. "Mine," said she, feeding the doves from her hand. 222

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "My! but your chickens and ducks and turkeys and doves are tame," said Poky. Kate laughed, saying: "My birds are always tame." Jerry and Beeswax were talking about base ball, while Poky and I were talking to Kate about her poultry. She knows all about raising fowls, and we got a good many points from her. I told her about the swarm of bees in our house. She said: "I think it must be ours, because no one around here keeps bees but grand father." "Tell your grandfather to come over and look at them and get the honey," I said. "Much obliged, I will," she replied. "We have eaten a little of the honey, but we will pay for it," I told her. "Oh, no," she said. "You are entitled to some of the honey for housing the bees." Beeswax overheard what she said, and he said: "Perhaps grandfather won't think so." Kate's face turned red, and she said: "The bees ought to pay rent the same as people." Beeswax did not answer her. Just then a big goose with a ribbon round its neck came waddling along. 223

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Hollo!" said Poky. "What's this?" "My pet goose," said Kate, taking the goose in her arms. Then she said: "Boys, do you want to see my flock of ducks? Come down to the pond." We followed her below the barn, and there we saw flocks of beautiful white ducks and gray geese. Some were swimming in the water, and some were on the bank dressing their feathers. There was one duck with a flock of ducklings, swimming on the pond. Kate talked about them with a great deal of pride, saying: "I haven't lost a single gosling or duckling this season. And every egg hatched but two." "You're lucky," said Poky. 224

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Isn't this flock of ducklings late in hatch ing?" said Jerry. "Yes, she stole her nest, so I did not know about her eggs till she came swimming in the pond with her little flock one morning," Kate explained. Then she added: "I shall have to take extra care that the ducklings don't get cold this fall. They won't be as large as the others Jerry and Beeswax came along, and Beeswax said: "Mr. Keenan on the next farm lost seventeen ducks this summer by the skunks." Kate said: "Oh, Bill, the muskrats killed some, you know." "He doesn't know for sure,'' said her brother. "I think you're lucky,'' said Poky. "How do you manage to protect yours ?" I asked Kate. 8 i NGO "Bingo keeps every wild animal off our place,'' she said, then whistled. Around the corner of the barn came a fierce-looking dog. "He's our watchdog," said Kate. 225

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Wow!" cried Poky. "I wouldn't want to meet him on a dark night." "I wager you wouldn't get past him," said Beeswax. As we were walking back to the house, I saw a cat in a hencoop. "Why do you keep your cat in there?" I asked. "So she won't catch the young chickens and ducklings and goslings," Kate explained. "I think you're hard on the cat. Poor thing," said Poky. "Don't you like cats?" I asked Kate. "Yes," she said, "but grandfather doesn't." "I don't like him then," said Poky. Kate said: "Next week I'll let her out, the young fowlsare so large now, I think she won't catch them."'

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "It will be a happy day for the cat,'' said Poky. I smelt the dinner cooking, so I said: "Come on, boys, we must go." We started, and Beeswax said: "Be on hand for the game Saturday, boys." "Certainly,'' said Jerry. I looked back, saying: "Kate, I wish you were going to be the pitcher of our team." She laughed, saying, "Thank you." "Don't forget to come after your bees, Beeswax,'' Jerry said. "You come along, too, Kate,'' I called. She waved her hand and answered, but I did not hear what she said. We had not gone far when we met Farmer Fred on his wheel. He had a coon's tail fas tened to the saddle, and it stuck out straight when he rode. "Hollo, monkey," called Poky. Fred jumped off, asking, "Where did you come from, boys?" "Beeswax's place," said Jerry. "What are you doing over there?" Fred asked. "Telling him about a swarm of bees that are living in our house," said I. 227

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "He'll be over for the honey, sure," said Fred. "What makes you think so?" Jerry asked. "Don't you know his grandfather is a miser?" said Fred. "A real one?" Poky asked. "Certainly," said Fred. "Didn't you notice how tumbled down his barns and sheds are, and his fences, too?" "That kind of farming doesn't pay," said I. "Of course it doesn't, but he won't do a thing that takes money. He's tighter than bark to a tree," said Fred. "Beeswax must have a tough time of it," said Jerry, jingling some dimes and nickels in his pocket. 228

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Beeswax and Kate have to go barefoot all summer, because their grandfather won't buy them shoes till the poultry is sold in the fall," Fred said. Fighting Jerry doubled up his fist, saying: "I'd like to tell that grandfather what I think of him." "It would take more than you to teach that miser anything," said Fred, jumping on his wheel and heading for his farm, the coon skin streaming out behind. We fellows went to our farm and started the dinner. The potatoes were boiling and the pork frying when the Hermit came. The first question he asked was : "Boys, did you go to Mr. Ashford's this morning?" "Yes, sir," we three answered at once. "What did he say?" the Hermit asked. I told the Hermit about the new machine for spreading manure, and I said that Mr. Ashford did not need our help. "Humph!" said he. "Mr. Ashford ought to find something on his two hundred acres for you boys to do." "He told us to play," said Poky. The Hermit did not answer, but he went off toward the barn. 229

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "What makes the Hermit cross?" Poky asked. "He thinks we're lazy,'' said Jerry. "Let's show him we're not lazy,'' said I. We three fellows washed our faces in the tin basin on the porch, then Poky called the Hermit to dinner. He came from the barn, looking very sober. At the table, I said: "Mr. Hermit, what work shall we fellows do on our farm this after noon?" "I'm ready for anything," said Jerry, rolling up his sleeves to show his muscle. "So am I,'' said Poky. For a minute he did not answer, then he said: "There are a couple of dead trees fallen down in the woods ; you boys can chop them into firewood and bring the wood to the house." "That just suits me,'' said I. "It will put me in first-class order for our ball game Saturday,'' said Jerry. "I'm glad we're going to have more wood; our pile is getting low,'' said Poky. Immediately after dinner we three fellows set off for the woods. Jerry carried the ax. I don't know what the Hermit did. We found the dead trees, and we went to work chopping 230

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM them to pieces, taking turns, for we had only one ax. It would have been easy work, if the mosquitoes had not come at us to eat us up. "Plague take the villains! They're flying down my throat," cried Jerry, whacking away with his ax at the dead trees. "Let's stop a few minutes and kill a million or two," Poky suggested. "A million !" I exclaimed, "What good would that do?" "The woods are alive with them," said Jerry. But he kept on chopping. When it came my turn to chop, I said: "I'd quit if the Hermit had not asked us to get the wood." 231

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "I'll die before I'll give up," said Jerry, tearing away the smaller branches. We fellows worked tw9 minutes, then we would stop to kill mosquitoes for five minutes. So, of course, we did not accomplish very much, although we were in the woods till milking time. When we started, we each carried an armful of wood. We met the Hermit coming out of the orchard. Mos9ui10 BiTES "Well, boys, did the mosquitoes eat you up alive? he asked, laughing at us. "We struck a nest of them," I said. The Hermit laughed, saying: "I knew the pesky insects would bother you. But I wanted to test your grit. Now I know that you boys will make good farmers, soldiers, or anything else great in this world," he said, and he kept on laughing. 232

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM By the time we had done the chores, our faces were swollen so much that we could hardly see out of our eyes. Jerry was wrathy, and Poky came pretty near crying. I felt like telling the Hermit what I thought of him. But I changed my mind when we were washing our hands and faces for supper, because the Hermit had a bot tle of stuff which he rubbed on our faces, and in a jiffy the bites stopped itching, and the swelling went down so that we could see to eat our supper. At the table, he said: "You boys were plucky to keep to work while the skeeters were tormenting you." "I never saw such a swarm of them," I said. "They pretty nearly ate me up, I thought I'd have to walk home in my bones," said Poky. "I'll wager I ate a peck of them," said Jerry. Now that our bites are getting well, we begin to look on our work of the afternoon as a good joke. And, we are pleased to see the Hermit good-natured again. Poky nudged me, saying: "The old man isn't cross any more." "No," said I, "we fellows showed him the kind of stuff we are made of." 233

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM We did not go to the canal for a swim be cause the break isn't mended yet, and there is no water in the canal. We went to bed early. It rained about midnight, and Jerry came piling onto the foot of our bed, saying: "Hang the luck! I was dreaming of playing a game with the Poplarports, and we Farmers were beating them 7 to 2, when the rain began pelting me in the face." In a minute he was fast asleep. Wednesday, August 21. 'A MAN came to our door when we were eating breakfast. The Hermit said: "How do you do, Mr. Barney? What can I do for you?" "I hear that you have a swarm of my bees in your house," the man answered. "Yes, Cy, we have. Come in out of the rain," the Hermit said. "No," said the man, "I came over to let you know I'm coming after the honey when the rain lets up." "All right, Cy," said the Hermit, "we'll be glad to help you get it." "Good-day, Ben," said the man, walking off in the rain. 234

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "That's Beeswax's grandfather," said Jerry, shaking his fist at him from the window. "He's a miser all right," said I. "Does the honey belong to him?" Poky asked. The Hermit shook his head, saying: "Not exactly; .we could claim it, but it is best not to have any fuss with Cy Barney. Let him have the honey, if he can get it. It's my opinion he will have hard work finding it. The bees have hid most of it 'way back of the clapboards." "Good! I hope he can't find it," said Poky "So do I," said Jerry. "Cy Barney is a queer man, and he was a queer boy," said the Hermit. "Did you used to know him when he was a boy?" Poky asked. "I've always known him," said the Hermit. "What kind of a boy was he?" I asked. The Hermit laughed, saying, "Cy Barney was always meddling with other people's affairs, and one day my brother Sam and I got even with him." We three boys settled ourselves for a story. And the Hermit began: "My brother Sam was a genuine tinker, al ways making something to run on wheels or on runners, or to fly in the air, or to sail on the 235

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BOB. KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM water. Well, one summer the old black flat bottomed boat gave out, leaked like a sieve. Sam wanted a new one, but he did not get time to work on one all summer." "Was the black boat like The Bullfrog!" Poky asked. "Something like it," said the Hermit. "And Sam was tired of rowing a heavy flat-bottomed boat. You see he got ambitious and wanted a canoe. He'd read about one in a paper called 'The Hearth and Home'; it told just how to make it. Sam read and reread the directions till he had them by heart. But the thing that bothered him most was the tree to make it of." "Couldn't he have made it of boards?" Jerry asked. "Oh, no," said the Hermit, "the canoe he wanted was a dug-out, the kind you make out of the trunk of a pine tree. And father did not want to give Sam one of the best trees in his woods." "Can't you make a canoe of white birch?" Jerry asked. "I suppose so," said the Hermit, "but the directions in the 'Hearth and Home' said to make it out of a pine tree, and father would not give Sam the tree. Father said that a flat-bot236

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM tom was good enough for a boy. But Sam said he was tired of a punt. You see Sam had set his mind on a dug-out canoe, and he was bound and determined to have it. It was on his mind all the time. Every morning and every evening when he went down the lane after the cows, he cut across a corner of the woods to look at a fine specimen of a pine, saying to himself, 'That's the tree for my canoe.' "Your father should have given him the tree then and there!" Jerry exclaimed. "Hold on, boy," said the Hermit, "money was scarce in those days, and a tree was worth too much to give to a boy to whittle a boat out of it.'' "Did he get the tree?" I asked. "Not that summer, nor the early fall either," said the Hermit, shaking his head. "Aw! how plaguy mean," said Jerry. "Don't get ahead of the story," said the Hermit. "Did he ever get the tree?" Poky asked. The Hermit did not answer but went on with his story: "That fall we had a long, warm Indian summer, and it ended in a tremendous thunder-and-lightning storm. It happened in the night. Sam and I watched it from our bed-237

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM room window. I remember it as if it had been yesterday. During the storm we saw a fork of lightning shoot down into the woods, and al most at the same instant a crash of thunder rent the air. Sam and I jumped as if we had been shot. 'Our woods are struck!' cried Sam. "We leaned far out of the window, but we could not see any signs of fire. "'I'm thankful the woods are not burning,' said I. "Father called, 'Boys, our woods are struck.' "Sam called back, 'Yes, I saw the very flash that struck them.' "In a few minutes the thunder rolled away, and the rain came down as if the heavens were open. "Father called, 'If there is a fire in the woods, the rain will help to put it out.' 'Yes,' said Sam, 'I'm glad the rain is pouring down.' "Then Sam and I jumped into bed and went to sleep. It was dark and cloudy the next morning, but Sam got up at four o'clock to go after the cows. I helped do the chores around the barn and stables. I was carrying the fifth 238

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BOB KNIGHT' S DIARY ON A FARM pail of swill to the pigs, when I saw the cows coming up the lane at a gallop, with Sam urging them on faster and faster. 'Hey, there, Sam!' father called, 'don't you know better than to run the cows?' "Sam did not hear one word father said. So father called again: 'Sam, Sam, quit running the cows.' "But Sam kept urging the cows on, till he turned them into the barnyard. Then he came running toward father and me, hollering at the top of his voice: 'That pine was split square in two by the lightning last night.' "'What pine?' father asked. "'My pine,' Sam answered. 'Don't know what you mean,' said father. 'That pine I picked out for my canoe,' Sam explained. "'Humph!' said father, 'I never said you could have that tree, standing or split.' "Instantly all the smiles went off Sam's face. Just then mother called us to breakfast. Sam did not eat anything, but drank a little water. I watched him, so did father." All the time the Hermit had been telling the story, I thought of course that Sam was going to get the tree. So I s aid, "Hang the luck! why 239

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM didn't your father give Sam the tree; it couldn't grow any more." "Hold on, Bob, hold on!" said the Hermit, "that tree at the saw-mill was worth the price of two cows. Father could not afford to give it to Sam." "What! after it was struck by lightning?" Jerry asked. The Hermit nodded his head and went on with his story: "After breakfast Sam and I went outdoors, and he told me all about the pine tree, and what clean work the lightning had made, splitting it in equal parts lengthwise. While we were talking father came out and told Sam that he could have the pine-tree for his canoe." "Hurrah!" we three fellows yelled. The Hermit said, "Yes, I say Hurrah too." Jerry asked, "What made your father change his mind so quick?" The Hermit laughed, saying: "It was mother. She persuaded father to let Sam have the tree. She saw that Sam's heart was set on it." Poky said, "You must have had a good mother."

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Yes, boys, I had the best mother in the world," the Hermit replied. We fellows thought that the Hermit had fin ished his story and I asked: "Did Sam make # his canoe?" Oh, yes," said the Hermit. "Father helped Sam and me chop down the tree and draw it to the old wagon-house where Sam put in every sp a re moment he had during the winter." Did you help him?" Jerry asked. The Hermit laughed, saying: "No, Sam w ouldn t let me lay my little finger on that dug out." "When did he get it done?" Jerry asked. Sometime in March, about the time Owl Creek i s full of suckers," said the Hermit. "Fish?" cried Poky. "Jingo! Wish I'd been there. How'd you catch 'em?" Speared them at night by the light of a pine knot torch," the Hermit told him. "Did you help him launch the canoe?" Jerry asked. The Hermit shook his head, saying: "No, I didn't see Sam take his first ride in his dug-out He slid off alone to try it, and when he came back he looked sort of glum and disappointed. 241

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BOB kNIGHT1S DIARY ON A FARM But he told me it was all right and asked me to go a-fishing with him. So one night we went." "Gee!" cried Poky. "I wish you'd asked me to go along with you." "Boy, that was fifty years or more ago," said the Hermit. "Oh, yes, I forgot," said Poky. "Yes, fifty-three years ago," said the Hermit, "yet I recollect it, as if it had been yesterday. I remember it was a dark cloudy night, and our torches blazed and flared in the woods along the creek. Sam always kept his dug-out hid in a clump of alders, and when we got to the spot he hauled it out, and we got in. I was a little skittish of the concern and held my breath until we were paddling down stream. Sam paddled, and I speared, but I did not spear many fish, for I realized how cranky the dug-out was, and I was afraid of being upset." "Was it a seaworthy craft?" Jerry asked. "Naw," said the Hermit, "nobody but Sam could paddle the wild thing and keep right side up in it." Then the Hermit stopped and laughed, as I had never seen him laugh before. When he could talk again, he said: "Here comes the best part of the story. It was the time we got even 242

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM with Cy Barney for meddling with other peo ple's things." "Do you mean Beeswax's grandfather?" Jerry asked, giggling to himself. "Yes,'' said the Hermit, "but Cy was a boy then just like Sam and me, and he came down to the creek to spear suckers. My torch had burned out, and Sam and I had gone ashore to fix up another. Our dug-out was drawn up on the shore. Sam and I saw a light coming through the woods, and we knew someone was coming to the creek. When we saw Cy, Sam threw his coat over our lantern, and our torch had gone out, so we had no light in sight. Sam whispered to me: 'Keep still, let's scare him.' So we kept still and waited for Cy to come along. When he spied the dug-out, he said to himself: 'Whew! what luck! Here's Sam Miller's dug-out, guess I'll use it to fish.' "He put his spear, lantern, and basket into the boat, stuck his torch in a hole in the bow, shoved off the dug-out and jumped in at the same time. Ca-wash! the cranky thing flopped upside down and spilled Cy and all his traps into the water. His torch went out and everywhere it was dark as Egypt, but we could hear him floundering in the water. 243

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Sam hollered: 'Cy Barney, use my dug-out all you want to. I say, use it all you want to.' Then we kept still, till we heard Cy put for home." "Did Sam lose his dug-out?" I asked. "No," said the Hermit, "we took our lantern and walked down stream, and found the dug out along the bank a few feet from the place where Cy had his upset." We all laughed. And, Jerry said: "Sam and you most certainly got even with Cy Barney that time." "Yes, we did," said the Hermit, laughing and laughing and laughing. "What did Cy Barney say the next time you and Sam met him?" Poky asked. "Nary a word," said the Hermit. "Well, Kate is a fine girl," said I. "And Beeswax is all right," said Jerry "What's Beeswax's right name?" Poky asked. "I heard Kate call him Bill," said I. Jerry looked at his watch, exclaiming: "Who'd think it was ten minutes to ten o'clock?" "I wonder Fred didn't come to see us," said I, looking out of the window. 244

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM It was raining hard, a regular down-pour. I could not see the barn. "Jingo! I forgot to feed the fowls,'' said Poky, jumping up. Then he scraped the food from the plates and started on a run to the hen roost. Jerry and I began washing the dishes and doing the chores. "Boys," said the Hermit, "did you milk the cow?" "Oh, yes, we never forget her. We wouldn't have any breakfast some mornings if we forgot to milk our cow," I said. I whispered to Jerry: "I wish the Hermit would tell us another story." "Oh, say," said Jerry, "you promised to ask him if he ever took a girl to a Sunday-school picnic, remember?" "That's so,'' said I, trying to think how I could put the question to him. "Go on, ask him," Jerry whispered, poking me in the ribs with his elbow. Just then Poky came in with an armful of wood, so that gave me a few minutes more to think. Poky threw the wood in the box behind the stove, saying: "We fellows can't go to the woods in the rain-storm." 245

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Oh, no," said the Hermit, "farmers ought to rest when it rains." "Did you work hard when you were a boy?" I asked. "Yes, yet Sam and I had many a play-spell," the Hermit answered. "Did you ever go to a Sunday-school picnic?" I asked. "No, I don't remember having any when I was young," he said. I was stuck, so I winked at Jerry, and he whispered: "Go on, go on." So I asked: "What kind of fun did you have when you were a boy?" "Oh, we young folks had husking-bees, and we went to singing-school," he said. "Did girls go, too?" I asked. "Yes," said the Hermit. I waited a second or two, and asked: "Did you ever ask a girl to go to singing-school, or to a husking-bee?" The Hermit laughed, saying: "No, I never did, but Sam did. He was great for taking the girls to ride." I was not going to ask any more questions, but Jerry kept poking me, so I said: "Didn't you like the girls ?"

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Oh, yes, but the girls didn't like me. That was the trouble," said the Hermit. "Humph!" cried Poky, "the girls don't like me, either, but I don't care." Jerry did not say anything, and I did not want to express my opinion, so I said: "All the girls like Fred." "Specially the girl in pink," said Jerry. "What's her name?" Poky asked. "I don't know," said I. "Why doesn't Fred come to see us? What's he doing, anyway?" cried Jerry. "Let's go to see him," I proposed, looking around for my cap. "Better wait and have something to eat,'' the Hermit said, putting a stick of wood in the stove. "Hustle up, Poky, and put the potatoes on to boil,'' said Jerry, as he began throwing the knives and forks on the table. At one o'clock the rain let up, and we fellows went splashing through the mud in our bare feet up the road to Farmer Fred's farm. We found him in the horse-stable, talking to the horse named Charlie. "What you doing?" I asked. "Telling Charlie all my troubles,'' said Fred. 247

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Humph! don't worry. We'll wollop the Poplarports Saturday," said Jerry. "I wasn't worrying over the ball game," said Fred, patting the horse's neck "Well, I am," said Jerry, "because we Farmers 'don't practice. We ought to be playing CHARL i ball, instead of hoeing and raking and chop ping." "Hold on, Jerry! Are you a farmer or a ball player ?" I asked him. "Both," said Jerry. "You must put one of them first," said I. Jerry kicked around in the straw and did not answer.

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Poky said: "I'm a farmer on Sunday, Mon day, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday; but on Saturday, I'm a baseball player. Wow!" We all laughed, then Jerry and I began arguing again over farming and ball-playing, till Poky yelled at us: "Jerry and Bob, quit your scrapping." The rain on the roof of the barn sounded like a shower of beans. We fellows did not know what to do, so we sat down on the hay and talked. Fred happened to mention Beeswax's name, and that reminded me of the Hermit's story. So I said: "Fred, we've got a capital story to tell you about Beeswax's grandfather, when he and the Hermit were kids." "What is it?" Fred asked. "You tell it," I said to Jerry. "No, you're the story-teller, Bob," said Jerry, lying back on the hay. "Oh, yes, tell it, Bob. I'd like to hear it again," said Poky, throwing himself on the hay. "All right," said I, beginning just as the Hermit began in his story. If I forgot any of it, Jerry or Poky would tell me, so we three fel lows told the story of "Sam's Dug-Out." Fred kept as still as a mouse, never asking a question; he never gets excited over anything. 249

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM But when we came to the part where Cy and the dug-out turned turtle, Fred exclaimed: "Good! I'm glad the miser got a ducking. He deserved it." One of us said: "Let's tell the story to Bees wax." "Oh, no," said I, "it might hurt his .feelings. Beeswax isn't to blame for having a miser for a grandfather." "Of course, he isn't," the boys said. Fred said: "That story puts me in the notion of making a canoe next winter. I could pad dle it on the canal next summer." Poky said: "It's lots of fun to build a boat. We fellows built The Bullfrog." "Humph! The Bullfrog!" cried Fred, laugh-ing at our boat on Owl Creek. "I've seen worse boats," said I. "So have I," said Fred. "What do you do in winter?" Jerry asked. "Oh, I have lots of fun," said Fred. "What do you do?" Poky asked. "Oh, I skate on the canal, trap muskrats and play in the Poplar Hill band," Fred said. "What instrument?" Poky asked. "Snare-drum," said Fred. "Jingo! That's fun!" cried Poky. 250

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "We practice evenings in the canal grocery," said Fred. "Wish I could hear the band," said Poky. "We don't begin to practice till after harvest ing," Fred told him. "We'll have to go back to school before that," said Poky, looking very much disappointed. "Aw, school!" growled Jerry, rolling over on the hay. "I think I know enough, I don't need to go to school any more," said Poky. "Oh, learn all you can," said I, "because the more you know the better you are fitted for any kind of work farming or anything else." "Humph!" cried Jerry, "Bob is talking like a; school-teacher." "I've got to make my own living in the world, so I'm thinking about the best way to earn it," said I. "Don't worry, Bob," said Jerry, "I'll ask Dad to help you." "Thanks, Jerry, but I must learn to support myself," I answered. "Doesn't your Uncle support you?" Poky asked. "Yes, he pays for my schooling at Poplar but I have to take care of myself in vaca251

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM tions. And after I leave the school, I shall have to take care of myself," I explained to Poky. "Bob, you and I can earn our living on our farm," said Poky. "That's what I shall have to do," I said. We fellows kept on talking about earning a living till we heard the cows in Fred's pasture mooing to be milked. "Jingo! it's milking time," cried Poky, jumping up. And we all started for our farm. When we came m sight of our place, we saw our cat sitting on the c h i m n e y of our house, looking for us fel1 lows. Poky started on a run, calling : "Puss, Puss, Puss." The cat jumped onto the roof, then to ground and went with Poky to milk the cow. Jerry and I looked after the pig and shut up the fowls for the night. As there was nothing to do after supper, we went to bed early.

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Thursday, August 22. THE sun was shining when I awoke. And the first thing I heard was Poky saying: "The old miser will be after his honey this morning." "That's so," said I. Poky and I jumped into our clothes and ran downstairs. Jerry was fast asleep in the ham mock. "Hollo, there! Lazybones," Poky called, running to dump Jerry onto the ground. But Jerry was too quick for him. Bounding out, Jerry sang out: "No, you don't, you rascal." Then Poky ran for his life, but Jerry was too sleepy to chase him. When the Hermit came, Jerry and Poky were doing the chores, and I was making corn meal flapjacks. The Hermit came into the kitchen and looked around. "Is it wicked to steal from a miser?" I asked him. "I should say it is," he answered. "I'd like some honey for these flapjacks," said I, flopping a pile of them onto a plate. "Cy will be after his honey to-day," said the Hermit, hanging up his hat. "Here he comes now," said I. 253

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Sure enough," said the Hermit, taking his hat off the nail and going to the door. "How are you, Cy?" he asked. "I've come for my honey," said the miser. "Sit down and have breakfast with us," the Hermit said, motioning with his hand for the miser to come into the kitchen. The miser stepped in and gave a sharp, quick glance at our breakfast. I knew he was looking to see if we had any of his honey. "Your cakes do smell good," he said, still scanning the table for honey. "Bob's a first-class cook; he beats us all making flapjacks," said the Hermit, placing an other chair at the table. The miser hung his hat on a nail and sat down. Jerry and Poky came in, and then we all sat down to the table. Poky whispered to me: "I wish we had some honey for our flapjacks." I shook my head at him. "The miser eats like a pig," Poky whispered. "Sh-s-s-s !" I went, and kicked Poky's leg. The Hermit talked about the crops, and the miser talked about hard times. We fellows kept still and ate flapjacks. When everything was eaten up, the miser 254

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM tipped back his chair, saying: "We've cleaned the dishes, that's a sign we'll have a fair day to-morrow." "I hope it will be fair Saturday," said Jerry. "Bah!" said the miser, "you boys think of nothing but ball games. You ought to work harder." "My boys are good workers," said the Hermit. The miser got up from the table, saying: "Let's see about that honey of mine." "All right," said the Hermit, taking the miser to the corner of the house by the well where the bees live. Some of the clapboards were off. The miser peeked in, trying to see his honey. "Can't see anything," he said, looking into the dark hole. Jerry had a twinkle in his eye, as he said: "Put your hand in and feel around, perhaps you'll find something." "What do you take me for?" the miser asked Jerry. Then he pounded on the clapboards, and we all heard the bees buzzing. "Hear 'em drum? They are there," the miser said, smiling all over his face. Then he ripped one of the boards loose. 255

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Hi, there!" cried Poky, "don't pull our house down; we want to live here next sum mer." "I've got to get my honey," said the miser, tearing the boards off as fast as he could. But he did not find any combs of honey. Whew! wasn t the miser wrathy. I thought he was going to tear down our house. He never said a word, but walked out of the yard. The Hermit smiled, saying: "The bees are too clever for him. They have hid their winter honey where no one can find it." Then he told us boys to go to the woods and bring back a wheelbarrow of wood. "All right, sir," we answered. And all our fun was ended for that day Friday, August 23. WE were up at sunrise, doing the chores. After breakfast we went to the woods. The mosquitoes were thicker than ever, yet they did not bother us as they did. I think they have gotten used to us, or tired of us, I don't know which. We went to chopping wood. "We'll not freeze to death this winter," said Poky "The Hermit will burn the wood this winter. 256

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM We fellows must go back to school in Septem ber," said Jerry. "School!" growled Poky, "I don't want to go to school." "Do you want to be a know-nothing?" I asked him. "I want to be a hermit and live in the woods all the time," said Poky. "I'm going to be a farmer," said I. "So am I," said Jerry. "I'm going to be a hermit-farmer. I'll work on my farm and live in the woods,,'' said Poky. "That's not a bad idea," said I. Well, we talked about hermits and farmers till milking-time, then Jerry started with the wheelbarrow of wood, Poky and I each carried our arms full. When we were piling it in the shed, the Hermit came along and I said to him: "Mr. Hermit, we boys want you to burn this wood next winter." "Much obliged, boys, I'll be glad to. I'm not so strong as I used to be. It's pretty hard work for me to chop wood now-a-days," the Hermit replied. "We'll do all your chopping," Jerry, Poky, and I answered at once. 257

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "That sounds good to an old man," said the Hermit, smiling at us fellows. Poky said: "I'm your right-hand man." Jerry said: "Mr. Hermit, you'll never want "for anything as long as I live." I said: "Our friend, the Hermit, will never grow feeble. He knows how to use the herbs that will keep him well and strong." "Yes, yes," replied the Hermit, laughing to himself. After supper Jerry, Poky, and I went to the canal. Fred and Beeswax were there swimming like fish. We did not stay in the water but a little while, because we wanted to talk about the game with the Poplarports. So we sat on the bridge and bragged about what we were going to do on the diamond to-morrow. "Of course, the Farmers will win," said Fred. "We've a crack team," said Beeswax. "We ought to belong to the Eastern League," said Jerry. "Let's play our level best; this may be our last game with the PQplarports this summer, and I want to wallop them good," said I. "Yes, say we do!" cried Beeswax. We sat on the bridge and talked till we got 258

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM the shivers, then we jumped into our clothes and cut across the fields for our farm. Saturday, August 24. WHEN the Hermit came, Jerry said: "Oh, say, Mr. Hermit, will you let us off from work this morning? We want to be in first-class trim for our game this afternoon." "Certainly, certainly," answered the Hermit. "But you must promise to win the game," he added. "I'll do my part," said Jerry. "I'll promise you we'll win," said I. "Aw! we Farmers, of course, we'll win," said Poky. We spent the morning washing and mending our clothes. At twelve o'clock we ate dinner. Then we put on our clean clothes and started for the ball grounds. Fred and Beeswax called for us just as we were ready to start. "Three cheers for the Farmers!" Jerry shouted. "Good luck to 'em," Beeswax responded. going to win, sure," Fred sang out. We talked about the game all the way to the grounds. We found the rest of the team waiting for us. The Poplarports were strutting 259

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM around, bragging about what they were going to do. We Farmers listened and kept still. Umpire Kelley called the game. We Farmers took the field, the Poplarports were ar ranged in batting order. Jerry was Pitcher, Fred was Catcher, and I was on first base. Poky was on second. Bi:ff, Bang, Boom! the game began. Skinny Mike was at the bat. He is a nervous kid, but he managed to reach first base all right. The second batter hit and ran for first, and tried for second when he did not have a ghost of a show. He knew that when he had turned first 26o

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM and was on his way to second. Then when he tried to get back he was blocked and run down. Skinny Mike had to leg it to make third. When the next fell ow came to bat, I had my eye on Skinny Mike, and I made up my mind to put him out or squeal. So when he was bolting for the plate, the ball was coming my way, and I jumped in the air for it and hurled it to Beeswax. And Skinny Mike skulked off the diamond. When Goat wenf to the bat, Jerry winked at me, and I laughed. Jerry gave him a fair ball, but Goat isn't used to such dizzy curves, and he could not hit the -==== ball, although once he J ERR. y AT TH f BAT just tipped it. Well, 261

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BOB KNIGHT'S DiARY ON A FARM the Poplarports did not score in that inn1qg. When the Farmers had their inning, Jerry was first at the bat. Texas Mike was Pitcher. Jerry calmly stood there and waited for Texas Mike's ball. When it came Jerry stepped forward to meet it and laid his weight against it, sending it sky-high and running to second, as easy as wink. Kii, yii, yii, yii how the "fans" in the trees and on the fences did yell and holler. Fred was next. He whacked a ball that sent a Poplarport skedaddling across the field, and when he had returned with it, Fred was on second and Jerry had reached the plate. When I went behind the bat I felt like a league-man. Texas Mike had an evil eye on me. I did not try for his first ball, it scuffed along the ground, and I let it pass. The next ball I tried for and sent it out of sight. Wow! but I ran, making second. Kii, yii, yii, yii how the fans cheered me I never felt so big in all my life. Instantly I forgot I was a farmer and wanted to be a pro fessional ball player. When Beeswax's turn at the bat came, he calmly stepped to the plate and gave us one of 262

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM his four-base hits, on which Jerry, Fred, and I reached the plate. Skinny Mike ran for the ball and hurled it like lightning to Big George, but we were too smart for them. I can't describe the rest of the innings, but the final score was 6 too in favor of the Farmers. The Farmers did some rattling good playing. The Poplarports did pretty poor playing. Not one of them, except Skinny Mike, reached third base. They are a crippled team, absolutely no good. One of their basemen acted as if he was afraid of the ball. He would let it fly all around him and not catch it. The Poplarports were outfielded, outrun, out pitched, and outbatted by us Farmers. We were too much for them. With Jerry's superb pitching, and Beeswax's four-base hits, we had the Poplarports helpless. And Fred and Poky can't be beat for catchers. Oh, there is no use writing about it, the Poplarports are no good. I really and truly feel sorry for them; they do 263

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM not know how to play ball. Jerry ought to train them. Before going home we Farmers marched through the village, whistling rag-time music. Jerry said: "I wish we had played the game in one of the big cities, then the newsboys would be crymg out: 'Evening paper, baseball extra!'" "My! wouldn't that sound professional!" said Poky. "We must belong to the Eastern League next year," said I, feeling like a professional already. A gang of country boys was following us, yelling: "Farmers I Farmers I Farmers I They're the baseball players I Six to nothing Six to nothing Farmers! Farmers Farmers!"

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM The next thing we knew a gang of village boys ran after us, firing stones and sticks and everything at us. "Quit that," Jerry yelled, making a dash at the kids. Wow! How they scattered! Then the Farmers and the country boys went out of the village toward our farm. The boys yelled : "Jerry Green is a crack player." "I know it," said Jerry. "Jerry is conceited," said someone. "Jerry is all right," said another. "Cider-Mill is a boss player," a boy sang out. "Don't mention it," said Farmer Fred. When we came to our farm, all the fellows had dropped out of line, but Fred and Beeswax. As we turned in our gate I called to Beeswax: "Tell Kate about the Farmers' score." "I'll not forget it," Beeswax answered. The Hermit stood in the barn-door. We three fellows yelled: "The Farmers beat, 6 too." The old man took off his hat and swung it round his head, yelling: "Hurray! Hurray! Hurray! for the Farmers!" We three fellows all talked at once, telling him about the professional playing of the Farm-265

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM ers and about the amateur playing of the Poplarports. "Do you know what makes the Farmers such good ball players ?" he asked. We did not answer, and he said: "Why, it's chopping wood and cradling wheat and mowing grass and weeds, and-" "Aw! go on," cried Poky But Jerry said: "I believe it is the truth." "So do I," said I. "Of course, it's so," said the Hermit. The sun was setting, and Poky said: "Hustle up, boys, we must do the chores." "Chores all done," said the Hermit. "I'm glad," said I, "because I feel so much like a professional ball player, I don't want to milk cows or feed pigs or chickens or anything else till to-morrow morning." The Hermit said: "Come along in, boys, supper is ready." Wow! we sprinted for the kitchen-door as if we were making a dash for the plate. And we found a jolly good supper of mushrooms and froglegs ready for us to eat. "This just suits me," said I. "The Hermit is the best cook in the country," said Jerry. 266

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BOB KNIG1IT1S DIARY QN A FARM "I can't beat him myself," said Poky. We talked about the ball game during the meal, and all the time till we went to bed. It was too late to go swimming Sunday, August 25. WE fellows were in high spirits this morning; we felt just like going to church with the Hermit. One reason was that a number of our team go to the little White Church and we wanted to see them. When we went into the yard, we saw Cider Mill, Beeswax, Doc, Kid, Ducky, and Cap, all standing round the horseblock, talking. They saw us and waved their caps. We fellows wanted to stay outside awhile and talk about the game, but the Hermit marched us straight up the aisle to the seat. Jerry was restless till the other fellows came in, then he settled down and behaved himself The church was hot as mustard, and we fellows went fast asleep. I know that it was not treating the minister fairly, but if he knew we were ball players and had won a game of 6 too on Saturday, I wager he would forgive us, especially if he were ever a ball player. In Sunday-school we fellows kept awake, be-267

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM cause there was a thunder-storm coming. The lightning flashed, and the thunder banged away like an old cannon. The room grew so dark we could not see to read, so the school was dismissed, and we fellows started on a run out of the room. I saw Fred hustling his horses out of the shed, and Beeswax was directly be hind him with his team. The Hermit and we fellows trotted down the road at a lively pace, but before we had gone a quarter of a mile, the rain came down in bucketsful. We were near a big elm-tree, so we ran toward it, but the Hermit hollered: "Boys, keep away from that tree, you'll be struck." We ran back to the road and faced the storm all the way to our gate. We ran into the house sopping wet If the wind had not been blowing like mad, we would have gone to the canal for a swim. But instead, we put on dry clothes and cooked the dinner. At the table the Hermit said: "Boys, never go under a tree in a thunder-storm" unless the tree is a beech." "Why?" Poky asked. "The Indians say a beech 1s never struck, 268

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM and I've found it true myself," the Hermit ex plained. "That's worth remembering," said Jerry. "I'll write that in my diary, so other boys will know it," said I. "Humph! Who'll ever read your diaries?" said Jerry, winking at the Hermit. "All the boys," said I. "I wouldn t waste my time reading them," Jerry said, winking again at the Hermit. Poky said: "Say, Bob, put me in your book, will you?" "Most certainly, you're my right-hand man," I told him. Poky straightened himself up, saying: "Take notice, Jerry Green, that Bob is putting me in the stories he is writing in his diaries." "Aw! I'm in, too, for I've read about my self in his diaries," said Jerry, getting up and beginning to clear the table. When we were washing the dishes, Jerry whispered to me: "Say, Bob, ask the Hermit to tell us a story." "All right," said I. Poky overheard us, and he said: "We'll not 269

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B B KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM hear any stories this afternoon; the Hermit has gone to the woods." "Oh, pshaw!" said Jerry. We had a lonesome time of it; the Hermit was away, and Polly did not come, and Fred did not drop in for a talk about the game. The cat was the only one that stayed with us that rainy afternoon. Hard luck! We did the chores early and went to bed. Monday, August 26. THIS morning the post-man left a letter in our post-box for Jerry. "Boys," said Jerry, "father has sent me twenty-five dollars, I'll whack up with you." "Thanks," said I, "but I'll not take a cent of it." "Nor I,'' said Poky. "Then I'll give half of it to the Hermit," said Jerry, going to the barn. In a few minutes he came back, saying: "Plague take the luck! the Hermit refuses my money, too. Anyone would think you farmers on this wild carrot patch were millionaires. You are about as in dependent." "Farming makes a fellow feel independent," said I. 270

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "That's so," said Poky. "I haven't a cent in my pocket, yet I don't care. Why should I? Here's our house with a stove and a bed in it, and outside is a pile of wood to burn, a cow full of milk, and three hens full of eggs and a pig growing fatter every day. Isn't that enough to make a fellow feel rich?" Jerry laughed, saying: "Poky, you're the happiest chap I ever met." Just then the Hermit came into the house, and I said to him: "How much do we fel lows owe you for the things you bought to set us a-going on this farm?" "I haven't figured it up lately," he replied. His eyes were twinkling all the while. Jerry said: "Now, Mr. Hermit, won't you take the whole of the twenty-five dollars toward the debt we owe you? I don't need the money. I've a little change that will last me till father sends me more money." The Hermit hesitated. And Jerry went on: 271

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "I used to think I had to spend money every day, b uying things whether I wanted them or not; but, since I've been on this farm I've got ten out of the habit of spending money. Now I don't need the twenty-five dollars any more than our cow does." "Well, well," said the Hermit, "I'll take it and keep it till you want it." "Pay the taxes, or do anything else with it," said Jerry, handing the money to the Hermit. After Jerry had gotten rid of the money, he said: "Come on, boys, let's go to work." "What shall we do?" I asked the Hermit. He said: "It's too wet for you to work in the turnip-patch, perhaps you'd better take some red astfachans and sweet-boughs to the canal bridge and sell them to the passing boat men." "All right," we three answered. Then away we went to our orchard for the apples. It did not take long to fill three baskets, and in a little while we set off for the canal bridge. On the way Jerry said: "I wish we had a horse, every farmer has one." "Get the twenty-five dollars from the Hermit and buy one," said Poky. 272

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Do you remember the horse, Hunter, we had at camp?" I asked. "Yes, I wish we had him," said Jerry. "So do I, but it's too far to go for him," said I. We talked about buying a horse till we got to the canal. Then, as there were no boats in sight, we sat on the bridge and waited for one to come along. In half an hour one hove in sight. Poky jumped up, call ing: "Ship ahoy!" "Let's take a ride to the next bridge,,'' Jerry proposed. "Say we do," said I. So when the boat was passing under the bridge, we dropped down onto it. "Hollo, boys!" said the captain, "got any apples to sell?" "We have. Do you want any?" I asked. "Yes, I do. How much do you ask for them?" he wanted to know. "A cent apiece, or fifty cents for the basket full," I told him.

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "I'll take the three baskets," he said, handing me a dollar and a half. I took the money and gave Jerry and Poky each fifty cents. "Do you live round here?" the captain asked. "Yes," said I, "we have a small farm south of here a little way." "How are crops this year?" he asked. "Oh, fair," said I. "There was a heavy crop of hay; but wheat and oats are light." "Glad to hear there is plenty of hay. I al ways like to have the farmers prosper. They are the foundation of everything," said the captain. While we were talking Jerry and Poky went to the other end of the boat to see a team of mules which were resting on the boat. They were looking out of the windows. The captain and I walked along the deck. Jerry asked, "Cap, got a mule to sell?" "Yes," said the captain. "How much?" Jerry asked. "Twenty-five dollars," said the captain. "Hang the luck!" cried Jerry. "I wish I had my money now." I let Jerry talk to the man about buying the mule, but when we came to the next bridge and 274

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM had climbed up, I said: "Jerry Green, what do you want of a mule?" "For our farm," said he. "Well, I'm glad you didn't have that twenty:five dollars in your pocket," I told him. "I'm not. I want some kind of an animal to drive," he said, all out of patience because he did not have his money with him. --_M vLES I did not say anything more to him. When we got back to our farm, Jerry said to the Hermit:. "I saw a fine mule on a canal boat this afternoon. If I'd had my money with me I'd bought it The Hermit said: "You boys had better not 275

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM buy a mule or a horse till next spring. You won't have any use for one this winter." "Plague take the luck!" exclaimed Jerry. "Winter is coming and I've got to go to Poplar Hill School again. I wish it was summer all the time." "Keep on with your studies, boys, you won't regret it when you're men." "I'm going to be a professional ball player when I'm a man," said Jerry. "I'm going to be a farmer," said I. Jerry backed up a little, saying: "Well, I'm going to be both." Poky yelled at us: "Stop your talking and help me with the supper." "All right. I'm hungry as a wolf," said Jerry. And we both went in to help Poky. It was dark and cold when we had eaten our supper, so we did not go to the canal for a swim. I forgot to say that we offered to give the Hermit the money we got for the apples, but he would not take it. Tuesday, tA_ugust 27. The post-man stopped again at our gate and put a letter in the box. We three fellows were 276

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM anxious to find out whom it was from and raced to get it. Jerry got there first. "Hurrah!" he cried. "A letter from Tony." He tore it open and read: "OMAHA, August 23. "Deair Boys,"How are you, anyway? Why don't you write to a fellow? I have not heard from you since you wrote you were not going with the circus any more. I miss you lots. So do all the showmen and all the animals. Vic asks every time I see him, if I have heard from Bob. Sancho and Tramp are well and fat. Grasshopper Tim and Monkey Jack are making a great hit in their loop-the-loop act in the West. They want you to travel with us again soon. We shall come East late in the fall to go into winter quarters. Maybe I will run up to the school to see you. I want to see that farm of yours. Farming must be hard work, don't think I should like it. "Give my best regards to the Hermit. "Don't forget, "Your best friend, "TONY." Tony's letter upset us for doing any work. We sat on the back porch and talked circus, circus, circus the rest of the morning. When the Hermit came to dinner we showed 277

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BOB KN I GHT' I A R Y N A FA'.RM him Tony' s letter. He read it, and s a id: "Pshaw! that circus boy better quit the show business and go to work on a farm, if he wants to amount to anything." "Tony is all right, even if he is a circus ac tor," I told the Hermit. "Don't you take any of his advice,'' the Hermit said. "Oh, we'll not quit farming," said Jerry. "Not for all the circuses in the world,'' sang out Poky, from the kitchen, where he was frying pork. "We boys have made up our minds to be farmers,'' I told the Hermit. "Se e that you stick to it," said the Hermit, dipping a bas in of water from the rain-barrel to wa s h his h a nds and face. While we were eating dinner, we fellows talked of Tony and the circus and of buying a mule. The Hermit did not say a word till he was shoving back his chair from the table, then he said: "Boys, forget about Tony and the mule and help me pick up windfalls in the orchard. There are so many hard green apples, if the pig eats them all he'll be sick." "Sour apples make pigs thin," said Poky. 278

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BOB KNIGHT' S DIARY ON A FARM "We mustn't let our pig lose any of his fat," said Jerry. "No, indeed, we're proud of his size," said I. We went to the orchard and worked all the afternoon picking up apples and burying them in the garden. We did not go to the canal for a swim. We were too tired, or too lazy, I don't know which. Wednesday, August 28. BECAUSE the post-man had put a letter in our box on Monday and Tuesday morning, we thought we would not ask the Hermit to set us to work till after the post-man had gone past, for perhaps he might bring us another letter. But he did not. He drove by and never looked at our post-box. We were sitting on the back porch watching him. "Well," said I, "as we haven't received a letter, I suppose we must go to work whether we want to or not." "It looks that way," said Jerry, stretching his arms and legs. Just then a horse and buggy turned into our yard. "Look!" cried Poky, "we're going to have company." 279

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Jerry and I jumped up to see who was com ing. I saw two men in a buggy; one of them jumped out and came toward us, asking: "Who lives here?" "We do," said I. "Who's we?" the strange man asked, m a voice like thunder. Poky jumped as if he had been shot. I said: "Jerry Green and-" "I don't care who you boys are. Where's the man of the place?" the stranger thundered at us. I pointed to the or chard, saying: "There he is, trimming trees." PET t S p RA TT The stranger started ..... for the orchard. Jerry, Poky, and I followed. The Hermit was sawing off dead branches in the red apple tree. He stopped sawing, and said: "How do you do, sir?" The stranger said: "Who's living on this farm?" "These boys and myself," said the Hermit. 280

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Who gave you permission?" the stranger thundered back at him. The Hermit slowly climbed down the ladder, then he turned around and looked the stranger straight in the eyes, saying: "Are you Mr. Spratt?" "That's my name," said the stranger. "Did you once own this farm?" the Hermit asked. "I own it now," the stranger hollered, at the top of his voice. The Hermit shook his head, saying: "You and I will have to have a little business talk. Come into the house, and I'll show you the bills for taxes I've paid on this place." "I don't care about the back taxes. I own this place," said the man named Spratt. "Come into the house," said the Hermit, mo tioning for Mr. Spratt to follow him. They went in, and we boys wanted to follow them but stayed on the porch. "Jingo I" cried Poky. "Are we going to lose our farm?" Jerry doubled up his fist, saying: "Not if I have muscle to fight for it." "We won't have to fight. The Hermit has papers to show that he has paid up all the back 281

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM taxes, and now he owns the farm till Mr. Spratt settles with him," said I. "Can't that man snatch it away from us?" Poky asked. "No, siree, he can't," said I. "Good!" cried Jerry. The Hermit and Mr. Spratt stayed in the house a long while; when they came out Mr. Spratt never said a word to us fellows; he jumped into his buggy and drove off. We fellows looked at the Hermit. He laughed, saying: "Boys, that farm is ours till he pays us two hundred and seventy-five dol lars." "Hurrah!" cried Jerry. "And he'll have to pay us for our turnip crop, too," said I. "And for all the weeds we've pulled," added Poky. "Don't worry, boys, Spratt will never get the money to pay us. He's hard up now," the Hermit told us. "Did he make any money in the West?" Jerry asked. "No, he's come back without a cent in his pocket," said the Hermit. "Any man who can't make a living on this 282

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY N A FARM farm, can't make a living out West, or any other place," said I. "That's what I say," said Jerry. The Hermit said: "Our farm won't have a clear title till Mr. Spratt signs off all right to it. And we shall have to pay him a few hundred dollars to get him to sign the deed." "Father will give us the money," said Jerry. "Let's begin early next spring and work hard all summer to pay for the place," said I. "Let's do it," cried Poky. "All right, boys, I'll help you," said the Hermit. Then he went to the orchard. We fellows were too excited to go to work. We sat on the porch and talked about the owner of our farm coming back to claim it. Jerry said: "I wish Spratt had knocked me down, then I would have had an excuse to pitch into him. I'd like to lay that lazy rascal out." "Aw! what's the use of fighting when we have the Hermit to befriend us," said I. "Oh, just to show that man how much I prize this little farm," said Jerry. We fellows talked about Mr. Spratt and our farm till the Hermit called us to pare the pota toes and onions for dinner. 283

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "All right, sir," said Poky, ru_nning into the house After dinner we fellows went to Fred's farm to tell him about Mr. Spratt's coming back to claim our farm. Fred did not get one bit ex cited, but he wanted to know every word the man said. "Humph!" said Fred, "you boys needn't worry, Pete Spratt will never earn or raise two hundred and seventy-five dollars." "Are you sure of it?" Poky asked. "Of course, I am. You boys will never have to give up that farm to lazy Spratt," said Fred. I did not worry any more about losing our farm, for I felt sure that Farmer Fred knows what he is talking about. After talking awhile with Fred, we four fellows to Beeswax's farm to tell him about Mr. Spratt's coming back to claim our farm. "Oh, pshaw!" cried Beeswax. "That lazy bones of a Spratt will never take the farm away from you fellows. He'll be glad to give yo'u a clear title for a little money. He's always hard up." "Hurrah!" exclaimed Jerry and Poky. "The farm is ours," I yelled. 284

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Kate heard us, and she came out in the yard, asking: "What's the news?" We fellows all talked at once, trying to tell her about Mr. Spratt's coming back and about his claiming the farm. Kate said: "Don't worry, boys, Pete Spratt will never get enough pennies together to buy the henroost, let alone the farm." How we fellows laughed! Beeswax said: "All of us farmers know Pete Spratt is too lazy to get an honest living." While the fellows were talking about Pete Spratt, Kate and I went to the creek to see her ducks. "Do the skunks and foxes carry off many?" I asked. "No, but hawks bother us some. Bill and I put string and pieces of cloth on the trees and bushes to frighten them away," she told me. "You have a wide stream of water and a swift current," said I. "Yes," said Kate, "the swift current makes us trouble sometimes when there is a heavy rainfall. Many a time this summer Bill and I have chased down stream after a duck that was being whirled around and around by the swift current so fast that she could not swim ashore." 285

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Ducks are a great care," I remarked. "Oh, yes," said Kate, "but I love them, and I like to take care of them, they're such beau tiful creatures." "You certainly are a success at raising them," I told her. "So everyone says," she answered. In a few minutes we fellows started for our farm. We wanted to go to Mr. Ashford's to tell him about Pete Spratt's coming back, but we did not have time. We heard the cows in the pastures lowing, so we knew it was milking time. We cut across-lots to our farm and went to doing the chores. The Hermit was not there. After supper we went to the canal, but we did not go in swimming. All of us boys went into 286

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM the canal grocery on the tow-path to talk about Pete Spratt's coming back from the West. This grocery is where Farmer Fred goes in winter to practice with the Band. The man who keeps the grocery and all the farmer boys were on our side. Not one of them thought Spratt had any right to turn us off the farm. They were all ready to fight for us. Jerry bought two quarts of peanuts and treated us all. We stayed till ten o'clock, eating peanuts and talking about Spratt. When we started for our farm the wind blew like sixty, and the moon was red as blood We fellows felt kind of scary, so we ran every step of the way there and tumbled into bed with our clothes on. Thursday, August 29. WHEN we awoke in the morning, we found ourselves all dressed ready to go outdoors. Poky said: "Boys, I'm going to sleep this way every night; it's lots easier in the morn ing." "You'll not sleep with me," said I. "You'd better roost with the hens," said Jerry. Poky made a face at us and ran downstairs. 287

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM Jerry threw his shoe at him, but he dodged it, running out into the yard, calling: "Co-boss, co-boss, co-boss." The Hermit came to breakfast. "Boys," said he, "go up to Mr. Ashford's farm and ask him if you can help him." "We'll do it," said I. For it was exactly what we wanted to do. We jumped up from the table, grabbed our hats and ran all the way there. He was in the barnyard, and we fellows all talked at once, trying to tell him about that Spratt taking the farm away from us. "Well, well," said Mr. Ashford, "Pete Spratt won't take that farm away from you young farmers, if I'm around here and am alive." We boys shouted: "Who's our friend? Mr. Ashford, Mr. Ashford, Mr. Ashford I" Mrs. Ashford heard us and came out to see what the row was about. When we told her, she said: "Boys, don't worry, Mr. Ashford and I will protect you." Then we shouted for Mrs. Ashford. It was noon when we started for our farm. Mrs. Ashford invited us to stay to dinner, but 288

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM I told her we must go, yet I wanted some of the good things I smelt cooking. On the way home, I said to the boys: "I really wanted to stay, yet I thought it would be more polite to refuse." "Humph!" said Jerry. "I wish you wouldn't put on airs when I'm hungry as a wolf." "I'm hungry as a pack of wolves," cried Poky, kicking along thr}mgh the dust. "I'm sorry now I refused her invitation, for I'm hungry, too," said I, feeling provoked at myself for putting on airs. Jerry and Poky did not speak to me all the way to our farm. When we went into the yard the Hermit was there, and he said: "Well, boys, what work did you do for Mr. Ashford?" We fellows looked at one another. "What did you do?" the Hermit asked. We three shook our heads. "Didn't Mr. Ashford have anything for you to do?" the Hermit asked again. "We forgot to ask him," I acknowledged. The Hermit turned toward the house and never said a word. Jerry called after him : "We were telling him about Pete Spratt coming back for this farm." 289

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "We were talking about Spratt all the time," I shouted. The Hermit turned and said: "Hurry up and cook the dinner, then go back and tell Mr. Ashford you will pick up stones in his ten-acre field this afternoon." We fellows went into the house, and we did not say a word while we were cooking potatoes and frying ham, and kept still at the dinner table, too. Just as we started for Mr. Ashford's farm, the Hermit said: "Boys, don't forget to ask this time." "No, sir," we three fellows answered. When we were a little way from the house, Jerry said: "Jingo! the Hermit is as wrathy as a hornet!" "He doesn't seem worried about Spratt's taking the farm away from us," said I. "Then we needn't worry," said Poky. "I'm not worrying, but I'm terribly excited," said I. "I can't keep from thinking about it all the time," said Jerry. "I can't work," said Poky. "It has upset me completely," said Jerry. When we came in sight of Mr. Ashford's 290

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM farm we saw him hitching up his horses. He waved his hat, calling: "What news, boys?" "We've come to pick up stones in your ten acre field. The Hermit sent us," I called to him. "Ha-ha-ha!" laughed Mr. Ashford. "Tell the Hermit to give you boys a day off to get over the excitement of Pete Spratt's coming back." "We are very much excited," said I. "Of course you are. Go over to the canal and take a swim; it will do you good. Go on, boys, I don't want you to do any work for me to-day," Mr. Ashford told us. "Thank you, Mr. Ashford," we fellows all answered at once. Mr. Ashford was going our way, so we jumped in and rode to our farm. The Hermit saw us coming down the road lickety-clip. Mr. Ashford drove into the yard, shouting: "I've brought your boys home." "Couldn't you find anything for them to do? They owe you several days' work," said the Hermit. "No, they don't owe me an hour's work. We're square," said Mr. Ashford, as we climbed out, and he drove out of the yard. 291

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM That pleased us fellows because we wanted to go to the canal grocery to talk about Pete Spratt. But the Hermit would not let us go. And, too, it began to rain before we got the chores done. So we went to bed early. Friday, August 30. IT rained all night. We fellows did not wake up till the Hermit came to breakfast. We heard him calling: "Hollo, there, young farmers It's time you are up and milking the cow." "Jingo! I wonder if it's noon,'' said Poky, jumping out of bed. Jerry rolled over, asking: "Is that Pete Spratt come to take our farm away from us?" Poky and I grabbed Jerry by the left leg and pulled him onto the floor. Then we ran down stairs before he had a chance to catch us. He yelled: "I'll get even with you kids." Poky and I did all the chores. Jerry did not come downstairs till breakfast was ready, then he was so hungry he forgot about getting even with us. And Poky and I did not remind him of it. After breakfast the Hermit said: "Boys, I want to clear up the brush in the orchard. 292

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM -Bring if out onto that bare spot in the garden and burn it. The ashes wiU be a good f erti lizer." "Hurrah! a bonfire," exclaimed Jerry. "A rousing one !" cried I. "Wow! won't we have fun!" yelled Poky. We fellows ran to the orchard and worked like lumbermen in the wilds of Canada all the morning. It was almost noon when we heard someone call : "Hollo, Farmers! Hollo, I say!" I looked across the orchard and saw Dick Thistle standing by the fence. "Hollo, Dick!" I called, running to meet him. 293

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "How are you, Bob?" he asked, grabbing my hand and giving it a shake. "Tiptop. Glad to see you, Dick/' I an ... swered. Jerry and Poky came running toward us, calling: "Hollo, Dick! Hollo! Hollo!" Dick answered: "Hollo, Jerry! Hollo, Poky!" Then Dick began firing a lot of questions at us. He asked: "Boys, what are you doing in this orchard?" "Clearing up the dead branches," said I. "Whose farm is this ?" he asked. "Ours," Jerry, Poky, and I shouted all together. "Humph!" said Dick. "Honor bright," said Jerry. "Honest Injun," said I. "Hope to squeal," said Poky. Just then the Hermit climbed down from a tree, saying: "Well, well, Dick, I'm glad to see you. How do you do?" Dick took off his cap, saying: "I'm well, sir. And I'm glad to see you." I said: "Ask the Hermit whose farm this !s." Before Dick had time to say a word, the Hermit said: "This is the boys' farm." 294

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Ha-ha!" Jerry. "Didn't I tell you so!" "You are lucky fellows," said Dick. "Come and see our cow and pig and fowls," said I taking Dick by the arm and marching him off toward the pasture. Jerry and Poky went with us. Dick looked at our live stock and said it was first-class, but when we showed him our turnip patch and told him about the weeds we had pulled out of the garden: he said: "Oh, say! You farmers have to work, don't you?" "Naw," said Poky, it's just play." "It's lots of fun. The work gives a fellow a monstrous appetite," said Jerry. I said: "We never get tired, and I don't call it work when I don't get tired." "I wish I'd been with you farmers all sum mer," said Dick. "So do we," we farmers answered. Walking toward the house, I saw smoke coming out of our chimney, and I smelt something cooking. Poky sniffed the air, saying: "What is it?" "Come on let's find out," said I, and we fel lows ran to the house and found the Hermit boiling vegetable soup. 295

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B0.13 KNIGHT' S DIARY ON A FARM "Goody!" cried Poky. "The Hermit is cooking the dinner." When the Hermit said: "Dinner is ready, boys," I dipped a basin of water out of our rain barrel and put it on the bench, saying: "Dick, wash first, you're company." "All right," said he, taking off his hat and coat and splashing the water in his face, and scrubbing his hands like a genuine farmer. "He'll do," Jerry whispered to me. "Dick is no dude," said I. We all went in to dinner, and the Hermit was pleased to see Dick eat the soup. "Where are the test of the Poplar Hill boys?" the Hermit asked. Dick said: "I saw a number of new fellows, but I didn't stay to get acquainted with them. When I heard that Jerry, Bob, and Poky were on a farm, I asked Polly how to get here, and I ran every step of the way." "New fellows?" Jerry asked, pricking up his ears. "Farming has put Jerry's muscles in first class order to fight all the new scholars," said Poky. "Jerry," said the Hermit, "be a friend to the new boys at the school." 296

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "I must show them their place first," Jerry answered. "Fighting Jerry isn't so fierce as he used to be," said I. "Jerry is improving," said Poky. After dinner we fellows walked all over our fields to show Dick what a complete little farm we had. He said: "You boys are lucky to get thirty nine acres to cultivate in Western New York, the richest farming land in the world." "That's what we think," said Jerry. "And we are lucky to have the Hermit for our boss," said I. "The Hermit knows all about farming," said! Poky. "The Hermit is a royal old fellow," declared Dick. Coming back through the woods we heard a familiar whistle. I looked around and saw Otto coming on a run toward us We fellows halted and set up a genuine Indian war-whoop. After we had given Otto a hearty welcome, we asked him to look at our farm and live stock. But he said: "Excuse me, boys, I'm tired, for I ran every step of the way here." So we went to the house and sat under the 297

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM trees and talked. We told Otto all we had done since we came on the farm. Otto listened to what we had to say, yet he was not inter ested. So I asked: "What do you think of farming, anyway?" His reply was: "I don't think I'd enjoy the hard work." OTTO "Work!" cried Jerry, laughing. "It's no work to milk a cow, it's just fun," said Poky. "Otto, you're a dude," said Dick. I did not want the fellows to be impolite to Otto, because he was our guest, so I said: "Boys, let's have a rousing good time this evening, for it is our last night on our farm." Poky said: "We'll cook our supper on our 298

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BOB KNIGHT' S DIARY ON A FARM outdoor fireplace; that will seem like camping." Wow! how the fellows yelled! And they all jumped up and wanted to help with the supper. I was trying to think of something to make, when the Hermit came. After greeting Otto, he whispered to me: "Bob, you needn t worry about supper, Fred and Beeswax are coming down the road with a wagon-load of stuff." When the two boys drove into the yard, I asked: "Hollo! what's all this?" "A corn-roast," answered Fred. Beeswax and Fred jumped out of the wagon, and Beeswax said: "We're going to give you fellows a good feed before you go back to school." Then the two boys began to unload sweet corn, melons, pears, and oh, I don't know what! There was so much of it. I introduced Fred and Beeswax to Otto and Dick, then we were all acquainted. We f ellows went to husking corn, building the fire, and bringing the dishes from the cupboard in the house. Otto worked so hard that Fred and Beeswax never once suspected he was a dude. We built a roaring fire, and when the blaze had died down we raked off the coals and laid the sweet corn and potatoes on the hot stones, 299

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM covering them with wet grass and weeds. While our supper was cooking, Poky and the Hermit did the chores. Jerry and I had to help take charge of the corn-roast. Fred was the boss of it; he knows just how to do it. It was dark when the supper was ready to eat. We boys sat on the ground around the fire. Fred and I fished the corn and 'taters out of the hot stones and tossed them around the circle. The fellow who caught the most, got the most to eat. We did not do much talking till all the corn and potatoes were gone, and we had begun on the muskmelons and pears which Fred brought. Then we found time to talk. I asked the Hermit for a story, but he was not in the story-telling mood. Then we fellows began to grumble because we had to go back to school. The Hermit said: "Boys, if you'll promise to behave yourselves and study hard this year at school, I'll ask Prof. Kane to let you come to my hut every Saturday evening, and I'll agree to tell you a long story." We fellows yelled : "Who's our friend? Who's our story-teller?

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM The Hermit, The Hermit, The Hermit! Rah, rah, rah! The Hermit!" "All right, boys, it's a bargain," said the Hermit, taking off his hat and bowing to us Dick asked: "Who's going to look after your farm next winter, boys ?" The Hermit answered: "I'm going to take care of it through the week, and perhaps Prof. Kane will let the boys come on Saturdays during the fall months to help me." Fred said: "I'll run over once in awhile to help the Hermit." "So will I," said Beeswax. Poky said: "I want to help pull those turnips in our garden. I've been watching them grow, and I want to help gather them into our cellar for the winter." "You shall, Poky. We'll pull turnips some Saturday," said the Hermit. "Who'll buy them from us?" Jerry asked. "Prof. Kane wants them," said the Hermit. "Hurrah!" I cried. "We fellows will eat our own vegetables next winter." "Is he going to pay for them?" Poky asked. "Oh, yes, he'll give us a fair price," said the Hermit. "That will help pay the taxes," said Poky. 301

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Do you think Pete Spratt will come here again for our farm?" Jerry asked. "No, he won't trouble us," said the Hermit. "I heard he had gone back West," said Fred. "So did I," said Beeswax. "Where did you hear that?" the Hermit asked. "At the canal grocery," said Fred. "I thought he would clear out," said the Hermit. When we had eaten up everything, Fred said: "Boys, let's go to the canal for a swim." "It's too late," said the Hermit. We fellows thought so, too. After talking awhile longer about our farm, Fred and Beeswax went home. When they were driving out of the yard I called to them: "Much obliged, boys, for the corn-roast." They both answered, but the wagon made so much noise I don't know what they said. It was too late for Dick and Otto to go through the woods to Poplar Hill School, so we asked them to stay all night. "Where are you going to put us?" Otto asked. "In the barn. We'll all sleep on the hay," I told them. 302

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM "Hurrah! Just the place!" cried Dick. Jerry threw a pail of water on the fireplace to put out every spark of fire. I went to see that the henroost door was fastened, Poky called the cat; then we five fellows and the cat went to the barn for the night. We sprawled out on the hay, but we did not talk, we were too tired. I did not know that I had been asleep, when I awoke and heard the Hermit calling: "Hollo, young farmers, are you going to sleep all day?" We all got up and shook the hayseeds out of our hair and off our clothes, then we went to the back porch to wash. Poky and the Hermit cooked the breakfast, while Jerry and I did the chores. Dick and Otto helped us. Dick said: "Isn't this fun! I do believe I'd like farming." Otto did not say anything. When we went to the house, Otto said: "Boys, where's your mirror? I want to comb my hair." "I'll get you one," said I, bringing a little looking-glass from the house and hanging it on the cherry tree, so that Otto could see to part his hair. The wind blew it every which-way, and Otto had to bob around to catch a glimpse 303

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM of himself, but he managed. to comb his hair. Poky said: "Otto, you're too stylish for a farmer-boy. Sunday is the only day we farm ers part our hair." "I suppose I could get used to it," Otto re plied, rumpling up his hair, so as to look like the rest of us. "Ha-ha, Otto I Now you look like a base ball player," said Poky. "Oh, pshaw!" cried Jerry. "I'd like to have a game with the Polarports to-day instead of going back to school." "Let's get up a team at the school," I proposed. "We'll do it," said Jerry. "Say we do," said Dick. Then Jerry told Dick and Otto about our games with the Poplarports. "Why, you young farmers had lots of fun this summer !" exclaimed Dick. "You just bet your life we did," said Jerry. We fellows were intending to stay at our farm all day, but Prof. Kane sent word for us to report at the school at ten o'clock. Of course, we had to obey. So we shook hands with the Hermit, thanking him for giving us a pleasant vacation on a farm. Then we went 304

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BOB KNIGHT'S DIARY ON A FARM around and looked at our cow, our pig, our three hens, and our rooster. When we started Poky called the cat, and he carried her to the Hermit's hut and left her there with Tige. Then we took the path through the woods to the school. On arriving there, we reported to Prof. Kane. As there was nothing to do, the boys wandered around the grounds, but I went up into our sleeping-room and wrote in this diary,. because I did not want to forget anything that we farmers said or did. Jerry came into the room and amused him self drawing my picture. B 0 B JER.lly 0.R.EW Tu is


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