Tales and Novels, vol 2 , page 69
by Maria Edgeworth
h more hardy race than the silver sprigs, they soon obtained and kept possession of the land. Marvel now pronounced rabbits to be the most useless and vexatious animals upon earth; and, in one quarter of an hour, thoroughly convinced himself that tillage was far more profitable than rabbits. He ploughed up his warren, and sowed it with corn; but, unluckily, his attention had been so much taken up by the fishery, the decoy, the geese, the thistles, and the hopes of the heronry, that he totally forgot his intention of making the best of all possible ditches round his plantation. When he went to visit this plantation, he beheld a miserable spectacle: the rabbits which had strayed beyond their bounds during the great snow, and those which had been hunted from their burrows, when the warren was ploughed up, had all taken shelter in this spot; and these refugees supported themselves, for some months, upon the bark and roots of the finest young trees.
Marvel's loss was great, but his mortification still greater; for his cousin Goodenough laughed at him without mercy. Something must be done, he saw, to retrieve his credit: ad the heronry was his resource.
"What will signify a few trees, more or less," thought he, "or the loss of a few silver sprigs, or the death of a few geese, or the waste of a few quills and feathers? My sheep will sell well, my thistles will bring me up again; and as soon as I have sold my sheep at Partney fair, and manufactured my thistles, I will set out with my money in my pocket for Spalding, and make my bargain for the heronry. A plume of herons' feathers is worth a thousand guineas! My fortune will be made when I get possession of the Spalding heronry."
So intent was Marvel upon the thoughts of the Spalding heronry, that he neglected every thing else. About a week before the fair of Partney, he bethought himself of his sheep, which he had left to the care of a shepherd boy: he now ordered the boy to drive them home, that he might see them. Their jackets hung upon them like b
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