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ADAM Stock was the eldest son of a gentleman who, having retired from London to the southern coast of our island for the improvement of his health, had there purchased a small property, consisting of a house, a large garden, a field, and a poultry yard. He knew the value of industry, and that, to an independent and contented mind, few things are really necessary for comfort; he determined to cultivate his own grounds, and, as nearly as he could, to do everything for himself; he therefore bought a cow, some pigs, chickens, ducks, and geese. Mr. Stock understood the principles of gardening, and possessed great taste in the cultivation of flowers; his garden was, therefore, always beautiful to look at, and the more so because you saw it was the work of his own hands, and that even the labour was a source of pleasure to him.
Little Adam loved his father very dearly, and was fond of being near him when he was at work. When employed in the garden, Adam would always be at his side, asking him the names of the different flowers that were in blossom, with many other questions about the way of cultivating them. He shewed such delight in the amusement, that his father told him one day, if he would be a good and obedient boy, he would teach him to be a gardener; so that by the time he became a man he should be able to do everything for himself, and know how to direct others. Adam was delighted. “Well, then," said his father, “this is now the first day in the year, and to-morrow we will begin. There is at present no snow upon the ground, and the frost has given way. I will buy you a spade, and a rake, and a hoe; and then, I think, you will be set up. One thing you must promise me—that you will attend to what I tell you, and endeavour to do everything in the best way you possibly can.” This you may be sure Adam promised to do.
After some pleasant conversation between the father and son upon the custom of presenting New Year's gifts at this festive season, which Mr. Stock told Adam had descended to us from the Romans, he said, “Now, Adam, you may cut some evergreens for your mamma, in honour of this New Year's day; you will find plenty of holly and laurustinus and evergreen oak, some of the arbutus, and whatever else you think pretty, only be sure you cut the branches so that they will not disfigure the trees. We may then take a walk before dinner, and gather some of the common broom, which is now in flower. Its blossoms are very lovely, looking at a
distance like drops of shining gold, set on green velvet. Perhaps Tom and Arthur would like to go with us: it is very dirty, but never mind; gardeners and countrymen must not care for dirt.” So, Mr. Stock having finished his work, away they went; and the boys brought home such a quantity of broom and holly and periwinkle, mixed with grave-looking ivy, with its dark-green leaf and scarlet berries, that they looked like Jacks-in-the-Green at May-tide. : On the following morning, while they were at breakfast, the man brought into the parlour a spade, a rake, and a hoe. Adam stared at them, and his face became as red as fire with delight. They were not foolish toys, but excellent working tools. “Now," said Mr. Stock, “ you are set up; and if you have finished your breakfast, we will go into the garden, and take our first lesson."
“ The first thing we shall do,” said Mr. Stock, “will be to dig up these beds under the south wall; there we shall sow our first peas, beans, radishes, onions, and mustard and cress.” So Adam watched attentively how his father turned over the earth, and levelled it with the spade. Then he tried to dig himself; and, with the help of his father, he contrived to dig up one bed tolerably even. Mr. Stock then made a shallow trench with his hoe, into which he dropped a row of peas, pointing out to Adam the proper distance between each, and explaining to him that when sown at a moderate distance apart, the plant was more productive than when too thickly sown. They did the same with beans, and raked the earth over them, leaving a slight ridge over each row; first scattering a little soot over them to keep away slugs; some onions, radishes, and small salad were next sown: in each case scat