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Letter VII. The Tame Duck's Reply. (The Bird And Insects' Post-Office.)

Robert Bloomfield 1766 (Honington) – 1823 (Shefford)

I confess I did not at all expect to hear from you; for I always believed you to be one of those thoughtless young creatures which are to be found in other stations of life as well as in yours and mine, who, as soon as they get fledged and able to get abroad, care no more for their parents and those who brought them up than I care for a shower of rain. However, you have escaped danger twice, and you have reason to congratulate yourself. I have been sitting here upon ten eggs for three weeks past, and of course have another week to be confined; but then the thoughts of the pleasure I shall have in hatching and guiding my young ones to the water, is ample payment for all my pains. They will look so clean and so delighted, and will do as they are bid by the smallest quack that I can utter, that I must be a bad mother indeed if I am not proud of them. Perhaps you will wonder when I tell you that we have a creature here - fledged indeed - which is called a hen; a strange, cackling, flying, useless, noisy, silly creature, which is as much afraid of water as you are of your decoy. I have often known one of these birds to hatch nine or ten of my eggs; and then, if you wanted to ridicule the lifted foot of conceit, and the dignity of assumed importance, you should see her lead her young, or more properly, see the young lead her to the nearest water they can find. In they go, and she begins to call and scold, and run round the edge to save them from drowning! Now, what fools these hens must be compared to us ducks! at least, I, for one, am determined to think so. I have seen this same hen with the brood about her scratching in our farmyard with all her might; when, not considering who was behind her, or who under her feathers, she has tricked away one little yellow duck with one of her claws, and another with the other, till I wished I had her in a pond; I would have given her a good sousing, depend upon it. But really, cousin, don't you think that this way of contradicting our natures and propensities is very wrong? Suppose, for instance, I should sit upon a dozen of that silly creature's eggs which I mentioned above - for I will never consent to have them matched with us - I should then, to be sure, have a week's holiday, as they sit but three weeks; but what should I bring to light? a parcel of little, useless, tip-toed, cowardly things, that would not follow me into the pond - I cannot bear to think of it. I have written you a long letter, and can think of no more but Quack! quack! quack! and farewell.

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Submitted on August 03, 2020

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Robert Bloomfield

Robert Bloomfield was an English poet whose work is appreciated in the context of other self-educated writers such as Stephen Duck Mary Collier and John Clare more…

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