TWELVE BY THE MAIL 753
without protection ; her elder brother July was with her. ^
He was a plump young fellow, clad in summer garments, and with a Panama hat. He had but little baggage with him, because it was cumbersome in the great heat; therefore he had only swimming-drawers, and those are not much.
Then came the mother herself, Madam August, wholesale dealer in fruit, proprietress of a large number of fishponds, and land cultivator, in a great crinoline ; she was fat and hot, could use her hands well, and would herself carry out beer to the workmen in the fields.
' In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,' said she : ' that is written in the Book. Afterwards one can have dancing in the greenwood, and the harvest feasts 1 '
She was a thorough housewife.
After her, a man came out of the coach, a painter, Mr. Master-colourer. The forest had to receive him ; the leaves were to change their colours, but how beautifully! when he wished it; soon the wood gleamed with red, yellow, and brown. The master whistled like the black magpie, was a quick workman, and wound the brown green hop plants round his beer-jug. That was an ornament for the jug, and he had a good idea of ornament. There he stood with his colour pot, and that was his whole luggage.
A landed proprietor followed him, one who cared for the ploughing and preparing of the land, and also for field sports. He brought his dog and his gun with him, and had nuts in his game-bag. ' Crack ! crack !' He had much baggage, even an English plough ; and he spoke of farming, but one could scarcely hear what he said, for the coughing and gasping of his neighbour.
It was November who came. He was very much plagued by a cold, a violent cold, so that he used a sheet and not a pocket-handkerchief, and yet, he said, he was obliged to accompany the servant girls to their new winter places. He said he should get rid of his cold when he went out wood-cutting, and had to saw and split wood, for he was master-sawyer to the firewood guild. He spent his evenings cutting the wooden soles for skates, for he knew, he said, that in a few weeks there would be occasion to use these amusing shoes.