I respect old age; but an old currant-bush, hoary with mossy bark, is a melancholy spectacle. I suppose the time has come when I am expected to say something about fertilizers: all agriculturists do. When you plant, you think you cannot fertilize too much: when you get the bills for the manure, you think you cannot fertilize too little.

Sometimes through- out a whole season all the swarms would alight on the lowest attainable bough such as part of a currant-bush or espalier apple-tree; next year they would, with just the same unanimity, make straight off to the uppermost member of some tall, gaunt costard, or quarrenden, and there defy all invaders who did not come armed with ladders and staves to take them.

And yet, as soon as I heard her "Bathilde! Come in and stop your husband from drinking brandy!" in my cowardice I became at once a man, and did what all we grown men do when face to face with suffering and injustice; I preferred not to see them; I ran up to the top of the house to cry by myself in a little room beside the schoolroom and beneath the roof, which smelt of orris-root, and was scented also by a wild currant-bush which had climbed up between the stones of the outer wall and thrust a flowering branch in through the half-opened window.

My greatest delight was in making clothes for my dolls, or in stretching out one of my mother's aprons between the wall and two sticks before a currant-bush which I had planted in the yard, and thus to gaze in between the sun- illumined leaves.

Soon after breakfast, Tom and Gem went out into the garden, and sat down under the shade of the great elm-tree. The three dogs were not long in discovering their place of retreat, and invited themselves to join the party with their usual assurance, Turk stretching himself on the ground alongside, Grip under a currant-bush, and Pete Trone occupying himself in tilling the soil.

These things come so forcibly into my mind sometimes as I work, that perhaps, when a wandering breeze lifts my straw hat, or a bird lights on a near currant-bush, and shakes out a full-throated summer song, I almost expect to find the cooling drink and the hospitable entertainment at the end of the row. But I never do. There is nothing to be done but to turn round, and hoe back to the other end.

Beside a heap of freshly turned mould, with her back to the currant-bush, stood Margery, her hands stained with soil; and on the ground before her lay a small chest with its lid open. I lifted my eyes from the glinting coins and sought Mark's gaze: but it was fastened on Margery, who walked slowly forward and straight up to him. Though he shrank, he could not retreat.

Many a sneer withers in those walls, which would scarcely, I think, blight a currant-bush out of them; and I have seen the House convulsed with raillery which, in other society, would infallibly settle the rallier to be a bore beyond all tolerance. Even an idiot can raise a smile. They are so good-natured, or find it so dull. Mr.

But the tragedy for the poor old music-teacher grew even more melancholy in its termination; for one day, as he was sitting disconsolately under a currant-bush in the garden, practising his poor old notes in a quiet way, THUMP came a great blow of a hoe, which nearly broke his back. "Hallo! what ugly beast have we got here?" said Tom Noakes, the gardener's boy. "Here, here, Wasp, my boy."

A bramble had taken root there, and hung over the side; a small currant-bush grew freely both, no doubt, unwittingly planted by birds and finally the bines of the noxious bitter-sweet or nightshade, starting from the decayed wood, supported themselves among the willow-branches, and in autumn were bright with red berries.