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country, and which I may, without the fear of contradiction, affirm, has from the conquest. on several occasions saved the high destiny of this country, and shown itself the most loyal, the most patriotie, and the most conservative of the interests of any class in the community.
“As to land itself it will always fetch its real value. There is a peculiar prejudice prevails in the minds of Englishmen in favour of becoming possessors of green fields. Broad acres won't fly away, and there's always some thing to look
your money; besides property so invested confers influence. A great landed proprietor is a greater entity than, an equally great fundholder. An increasing population will always require feeding, and urban avarice delights to manifest its accumulations in rural estate. There is scarcely a city merchant, a rich banker, or hoarding burgher, who does not ever and anon indulge the glowing fancy of one day, when industry can cease from its labours, retiring to country quiet, and there pursuing the only natural occupation of man, the cultivation of the
earth-not mattering whether such be in amateur farming or the mere culture of his garden plot. Rightly did the Emperor of the North* when here exclaim that the man on earth who has the most of life's comforts within his
is the English country gentleman. Yes, land, as I have said, will always be valued, and highly cæteris paribus in this country.”
“That science taught by Columella and Virgil to the Romans, will be ardently followed to all posterity,” observed the schoolmaster, who had patiently listened to the stranger, and who was very anxious to show off a bit of classical lore, which by chance he had stumbled upon years before, and which he never failed to quote whenever the opportune occasion presented. Mr. Fallow had so frequently heard those gentlemens' names referred to by the learned man who sat in the corner, that they sounded in his ears like old friends, but he did not know in what county they farmed, nor yet whether they were landlords or tenants !
* Alexander of Russia.
The conversation on land, landed interest, and all that pertained to land was very interestedly kept up by all parties, so much so that the stranger insisted that his agreeable friends should join him in a bowl of punch. To this proposition the bucolic innocents goodnaturedly assented, and the stranger with no slightair of importance orderedasmoking bowl of that generous compound. He declared, too, that it was long since he had fallen into such very agreeable company, and he averred again and again, that he wished he had been a farmer. Fallow shoved from him the empty tankard, and the schooolmaster re-filled his pipe. The punch at length was put on the board, rents and tithes, taxes and land valuing, were topics freely discussed, and under this stimulus the stranger elicited more and more information. Like all artless people who have not moved from a home-bred sphere, the villagers after a time grew exceedingly communicative not only respecting their own, but other's circumstances. A little more of worldliness might have suggested greater taciturnity. The trio were so fond of each other's society that they did not separate till long after the village church clock tolled twelve. After a cordial shake of the hand, the aborigines bade a reluctant farewell to the stranger, whom they hoped to meet on a future occasion. Mr. Fallow gave it confidentially as his opinion to the knight of the ferula, that the gentleman whom they had the honour of conversing with was an M.P., incognito, to which his companion did not so readily assent, yet he did believe him to be a person of importance.
The stranger now moved off to bed much delighted at the evening he had spent, and in no wise regretting the punch for which he had to pay, well knowing that this disbursement was one of those expedient expenses hereafter to be refunded.
On the following morning the traveller rose betimes and peeped out of the lattice casement of the Plough. How still every thing and everybody appeared-it was the stillness of death. It is true the gabbling of the geese on the village pond, the occasional shrill clarion of some barn door pater familias, or the bark of the impatient watch-dog, which “ dragged his lengthening chain,” broke the silence, but such discordancies were for an instant, and again not a noise interrupted.
Godfrey De Bohun was at this time, as the reader may suppose, full of trouble, often did he wander about for hours in the lonely walks, which environed his residence.
It was during one of these melancholy musings that the stranger who had slept at the Plough, accosted him. At the first the Captain did not recognize him, at length, however, he called the person to remembrance, nor did he seem a little agitated in the recognition.
“I have been at the house, captain, and a servant informed me I should meet with you in some of these very beautiful walks which surround your mansion.”
Godfrey returned some trifling reply, and then bid the stranger accompany him to the Hall. He did so, and ere long they were both closeted in that dingy and jaundicedhued study. The conversation was loud,