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many naked beds behind them; and a few scarlet beans, and the red berries of the asparagus, were the only ornaments which were left on the ground. The kitchen-herbs had been all cut down, and taken to the house, to dry for winter use. The parsnips, carrots, and beet-roots still remained in the ground; but a few weeks would see them also housed for the winter.
Frank was surprised to see the enormous pumpkins and gourds, the seeds of which, a few months before, he had helped to sow. Some fine scarlet tomatoes grew against the wall, which are used in some dishes in this country; but are commonly eaten by the natives of Spain and Italy, as salads are with us. The trenches filled with the green tops of celery, the endive and lettuces, the winter spinach, and a variety of the cabbage tribe, seemed prepared to face the wind and storms of winter. The children proceeded to the orchard, where they found William gathering the produce of the different trees. Frank was allowed to assist him; and he knew how to arrange the various sorts by themselves, in a room for the purpose, where the nonpareils, the Ribston pippins, the golden rennets, and other eating-apples, were laid on shelves, and the baking-apples laid in heaps on the floor. The winter pears, the quinces, walnuts, medlars, and filberts, being all stored, Frank began to turn his thoughts to the comforts and pleasures which were to be found within doors; and when he beheld the leafless trees, and the despoiled fields, he felt happy in having a comfortable home, kind parents, and a lively companion in his sister. All the winter amusements, which were judged proper for them, they participated in; and when Agnes had played a game at nine-pins with her brother, he would assist her to arrange her play-things and books, and to put her dissected maps together,
One day, Mrs. Vernon received a large packet of flower-roots from a friend in Holland. She called the children, to show them how she planted them; and, to their great surprise, instead of putting them in pots of earth, she placed each root in the mouth of a long glass made for the purpose, which was filled with water, and placed upon the chimney-piece. In a few days, the fibrous roots grew down into the wa
ter, and a green shoot appeared at the top. Mrs. Vernon told Frank, she hoped they would produce fine hyacinths early in February, which would be more than two months before they flower in the garden; besides affording the pleasure of watching their growth, and yielding their fragrance for a considerable time.
The month of December returned, and with it came the birth-day of Frank. A holiday was announced to the children; and Mr. Vernon presented Frank with a very pretty writing-desk, as a reward for his attention to his lessons, since the last birth-day. Frank thanked his papa for this welcome gift; and, on examination, he found his desk contained paper, pens, ink, and all the materials for writing. His mamma also gave him the well-chosen present of“ Bingley's Useful Knowledge"
one of the most instructive books of the kind ever published for youth; and even the little Agnes was not without her gift of a pretty silver pencilon this happy occasion. In the evening, the children were asked to drink tea with their papa and mamma, when a plum-cake appeared, and Agnes asked her mamma to tell her where the currants and raisins came from, which she observed in this birth-day treat. Mrs. Vernon, ever willing to answer the questions of her children, particularly on subjects which lead to the acquisition of knowledge, said she was most willing to give them all the information they wished. “ Raisins,” continued Mrs. Vernon, “ are chiefly brought from the south of Europe: they are the produce of the vine, and you know, before they are dried, are called grapes. They are left on the trees, till