MY BOYHOOD AND YOUTH.
day: breakfast at twelve o'clock, after labouring
from daylight, and supper when the work of the
remainder of the day was over. In harvest season
we had three. Our dress was of tow-cloth ; for the
children, nothing but a shirt; for the older ones a
pair of pantaloons or a gown in addition, according
to the sex. Besides these, in the winter a round
jacket or overcoat, a wool-hat once in two or three
years, for the males, and a pair of coarse shoes once
We lodged in log huts, and on the bare ground.
Wooden floors were an unknown luxury. In a
single room were huddled, like cattle, ten or a dozen
persons, men, women, and children. All ideas of
refinement and decency were, of course, out of the
question. We had neither bedsteads, nor furniture
of any description. Our beds were collections of
straw and old rags, thrown down in the corners and
boxed in with boards; a single blanket the only
covering. Our favourite way of sleeping, however,.
was on a plank, our heads raised on an old jacket
and our feet toasting before the smouldering fire.
The wind whistled and the rain and snow blew in
through the cracks, and the damp earth soaked in
the moisture till the floor was miry as a pig-sty.
Such were our houses. In these wretched hovels.
were we penned at night, and fed by day ; here were
the children born and the sick—neglected.
Notwithstanding this system of management I
grew to be a robust and vigorous lad. At fifteen
years of age there were few who could compete
with me in work or sport. I was as lively as a