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which contained the richest lode of ore-that it is brilliantly lighted up with candles; and a service chanted by unseen choristers.

The old-fashioned English village now scarcely exists; no doubt it was, from a sanitary view, usually far from satisfactory, but, remembering how quaint and pretty it was, one cannot help regretting that the march of progress should have entailed its destruction.

What a joy were the quaint old streets before they were disfigured by "stores" and other artistically abominable, if convenient, innovations. At that time the small and unpretentious shops still retained most of the charm which is to be discovered in the pictures of the eighteenth century. Plate-glass and cast-iron ornamentation were as yet absent. In many of the old country towns the streets were full of delightful Georgian shop-fronts, the woodwork of which was often fine. In connexion with this subject it is curious to note that, whilst of recent years a distinct attempt at reviving the shop-fronts is visible in the West End, they are still looked upon with contempt by tradesmen in the provinces, the majority of whom consider them old-fashioned and out of date. Of original small shop-fronts still remaining, the best instances are Lock's hat shop in St. James' Street, and Fribourg and Tryer in the Haymarket. A very successful front in the old style, which has been erected within comparatively recent years, is that of Messrs. Hatchard. Here the designer seems

to have caught a good deal of the spirit which made this sort of work so pleasant to the eye.

The little village gardens, with their old-fashioned flowers, exactly suited the queer old cottages, most of which had a look of immemorial antiquity. Most cottagers then kept bees in the quaint straw hives of local construction and usually did well out of them. The great part which those useful workers formerly played in the economy of simple households was once shown by a queer old custom now probably quite obsolete.

When any one of their owner's family died, it was once the custom to inform the bees of the death. If this was not done in due form the hive, according to an old superstition, would dwindle and die. The manner of communicating the intelligence to the little community, with due form and ceremony, was this to take the key of the house, and knock with it three times against the hive, telling the inmates, at the same time, that their master or mistress, as the case might be, was dead!

Many queer usages were connected with funerals; one of the strangest of these, which must have originated in prehistoric times, was the idea of providing food for a corpse. As late as 1892 a Nottinghamshire rustic was buried with a tin of salmon and an opener in his coffin!

Many country towns had their own peculiar customs; one of the most singular was that which prevailed within the walls of the ancient borough



of Ludlow on Shrove Tuesday. At three o'clock in the afternoon a rope, thirty-six yards long and three inches in circumference, which was provided by the chief constable, was exhibited at one of the windows of the market-house, and an hour later it was thrown down in the street, where it was seized by hundreds of people. The parties who contended for bearing away the prize were the inhabitants of Castle and Broad Streets, against those of Old and Lowe Streets, and the object was to drag the rope to the extremity of one of the wards. This dangerous amusement, it is said, was adopted by the Corporation in contempt of the unjust execution of the two bailiffs of the town, by the royal party, during the contention of the Houses of York and Lancaster.

Up to the late Sixties, or even later, there was very little rebuilding, the inhabitants of small towns and villages being quite content to reside in the old houses which had sheltered their ancestors. Many of these houses were of immense age. When one of them—an old residence known as Bucks, the property of Colonel Wyndham, about a mile from Rogate, close to which was our country house, Dangsteinwas demolished in 1861, a nine-pounder cannon-ball was found embedded in mortar at the foundation. This must, at least, have been there for two or three centuries. The house was one of the old-fashioned framed walls, and the doors leading from one room to another built as small as if they were intended for

Lilliputians only to pass through. The last family who occupied it had been settled there more than a century.

Of late years many old manor houses, some of them almost in ruins, have been very satisfactorily restored to a habitable state; in most cases, I am glad to say, all ancient features being retained.

One of the first to realize the adaptability of an old ruined house to modern uses was my brother the late Earl of Orford, who many years ago turning his attention to an old embattled building on his estateMannington, built in 1412, which had long fallen on evil days-converted it into a thoroughly comfortable and artistic residence, filled with rare old panelling and pictures. A large portion of the former, I regret to say, came from old Norfolk farmhouses and churches the restoration mania being then in full swing, and quantities of fine old woodwork being obtainable for a mere song.

Forming a lovely formal garden within that part of the grounds, bounded by a neglected moat which he put in good order, he formed an ideal retreat where, surrounded by the books he loved, he passed many peaceful days. In a spot reposeful and full of sweet memories of our childhood he erected a pillar upon which he inscribed, "Matri dulcissimæ Horatius Filius," a fitting tribute to our mother, who, combined with considerable beauty, possessed a nature of singular sweetness.

The village streets of the past possessed an old

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