The small brown China goose is another variety which may be introduced. She is nearly the color of the African, but darker; has the same black bill, and high protuberance on it, but without the dewlap under the throat; and has black legs and feet. She is only half the size of the other; is a more prolific layer,—frequently laying three or four clutches of eggs in a year; has the same character of voice; an equally high, arched neck, and is quite as graceful in the water. The neck of the goose in the cut should be one-third longer, to be an accurate likeness.
The White China is another variety, in size and shape like the last, but perfectly white, with an orange colored bill and legs. Indeed, no swan can be more beautiful than this, which is of the same pure, clean plumage, and, in its habits and docility, equally a favorite with the others we have described.
The Bremen goose is still another variety, of about the same size as the African, but in shape and appearance, not unlike the common goose, except in color, which is pure white. Young geese of this breed, at nine months old, frequently weigh twenty pounds, alive. We have had them of that weight, and for the table, none can be finer. They are equally prolific as the common goose, but, as a thing of ornament, are far behind the African and the China. Still, they are a stately bird, and an acquisition to any grounds where water-fowls are a subject of interest, convenience, or profit.
All these birds are more domestic, if possible, than the common goose, and we have found them less troublesome, not inclined to wander abroad, and, in all the qualities of such a bird, far more agreeable. We have long kept them, and without their presence, should consider our grounds as incomplete, in one of the most attractive features of animated life.
It is too much a fault of our farming population, that they do not pay sufficient attention to many little things which would render their homes more interesting, both to themselves, if they would only think so, and to their families, most certainly. If parents have no taste for such objects as we have recommended, or even 373 others more common, they should encourage their children in the love of them, and furnish them for their amusement. The very soul of a farmer's home is to cluster every thing about it which shall make it attractive, and speak out the character of the country, and of his occupation, in its full extent. Herds and flocks upon the farm are a matter of course; and so are the horses, and the pigs. But there are other things, quite as indicative of household abundance, and domestic enjoyment. The pigeons, and the poultry of all kinds, and perhaps the rabbit warren, which are chiefly in charge of the good housewife, and her daughters, and the younger boys, show out the domestic feeling and benevolence of character in the family, not to be mistaken. It is a sign of enjoyment, of domestic contentment, and of mental cultivation, even, that will lead to something higher, and more valuable in after life; and it is in such light that it becomes an absolute duty of the farmer who seeks the improvement and education of his children, to provide them with all these little objects, to engage their leisure hours and promote their happiness. How different a home like this from one—which is, really, not a home—where no attention is paid to such minor attractions; where a few starveling things, by way of geese, perhaps, picked half a dozen times a year, to within an inch of their lives, mope about the dirty premises, making their nightly sittings in the door yard, if the house has one; a stray turkey, or two, running, from fear of the untutored dogs, into the nearest wood, in the spring, to make their rude nests, and bring out half a clutch of young, 374 and creeping about the fields through the summer with a chicken or two, which the foxes, or other vermin, have spared, and then dogged down in the winter, to provide a half got-up Christmas-dinner; and the hens about the open buildings all the year, committing their nuisances in every possible way! There need be no surer indication than this, of the utter hopelessness of progress for good, in such a family.
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