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JOHN BULL IN PERSON.
Possibly this result is owing to the fact that railways were longer coming to this portion of England than generally elsewhere, and possibly also because the railway hotel has not so much, as in other parts of the country, taken the place of the old inn, which latter therefore still retains what custom there is. It may be accepted that, as a rule with few exceptions, the modern traveller by road will find excellent accommodation at the best hostelries in the country towns, and the rural wayside inns at the worst will always afford a simple repast of bread and cheese and fair ale; but, as a matter of fact, only once on our journey were we reduced to this humble fare-humble, though not to be despised by the hungry wayfarer possessing a healthy appetite begotten of being out in the fresh, invigorating country air.
At the bar of our inn we met a burly farmer (of the genuine John Bull type, as personified in political cartoons) smoking his pipe and taking his ease, looking the very picture of prosperous contentment-for all the world as though wheat were many shillings a quarter dearer than it is, and the
est prospects favourable instead of doubtful. 'Good morning, sir,' he said cheerily as we came in ; 'fine weather for travelling.' We returned the greeting, adding that we hoped the weather was equally good for farming purposes, with some passing remark as to the depressed state of agriculture. 'Well, times are not over-brilliant,' he answered; 'but I don't complain. I manage to jog along comfortably enough.' Here was a surprise for us; we
had actually come upon a farmer who did not take the gloomy view of things. Perhaps, however, we thought, he is the happy owner of the land he cultivates, and having consequently no rent to pay, he sees things in a different light from the man who has to meet, or endeavour to meet, his landlord's demands every half-year; but, after all, it turned out that we were wrong in our supposition. Our farmer was only a tenant like the majority, and paid a fair rent for good useful land, but nothing wonderful.' From what we could gather in the course of our conversation, instead of struggling against the inevitable, he acknowledged the changed condition of affairs brought on by foreign competition, and no longer stuck abjectly to the old rotation of crops because they paid for the growing thus in the times of protection. From what we could make out, the secret of his comparative prosperity appeared to be in always, where possible, securing two profits upon his productions: he did not sell his raw material to others who take the lion's share of the profit; he converted his corn into pork, beef, and mutton; he did not sell his milk or cream, but converted them into cheese and butter; he made his fruit into jam, he ground his own corn, and secured for himself the miller's profit; so with careful management, doing away as far as possible with the middleman, our farmer managed, in spite of these latter evil days, to put a good face to the world, and to live comfortably, though fortune-making was out of the question. I doubt much, however, in spite of his enterprise, whether he could put anything by for a rainy day.'
One unexpected result of the agricultural depression-a result that may be a gain to some-is that sundry farmers, at their wit's end how to pay their rent, have discovered a new source of revenue by the letting of apartments with board, or even a portion of their farmhouse, to families when leaving town for their usual summer outing, and, having tried the experiment with profit, are repeating it. And a very welcome change from the usual run of seaside lodgings is the roomy and picturesque farmhouse, with the green fields for the children to romp and play in, the country around to explore, the farming operations to watch, the gathering of the crops, the outgoing and incoming of the teams, the milking of the cows, the feeding of the live stock, and perchance the haymaking to help with, not forgetting the plentiful supply of fresh-laid eggs, milk, and vegetables, all to be had at the market price, which differs very considerably from that of the fashionable watering-place shop. Moreover, one can never be dull at a farmhouse, as there is always something going on, always plenty doing to amuse children. I envy the youngster who spends his summer holiday in one, and, besides, there is far less chance in such enviable quarters of catching hooping-cough, scarlet fever, and the other complaints that children are heir to; verb. sap. Of course it would be advisable, even necessary indeed, to personally inspect a farmhouse before making arrangements for a definite stay thereat. Perhaps I may here state that I have myself with my family (much to our enjoyment and the health of the little ones) stayed at farmhouse
apartments, so I write having some experience in the matter. On one occasion our stay was for eight weeks, and on another for six, and friends of mine have also tried the same experiment, and the result in each case has been an unqualified success. At one farmhouse where I was, the tenant confessed to me that he found by letting apartments one year he received the full amount of his rent; he owned that neither himself nor his wife liked the idea at all at first, but he had been fortunate in always having pleasant people, and now he rather enjoyed the change of having visitors-they interested him. Thus out of evil some good may come.
Sudbury-The Head of Archbishop Simon-A Gruesome SightQuaint Tombstones-The Restorer again-An aged Clerk-Oldfashioned Farming-Spoiling Scenery-Iron Buildings-Past-time Customs-A Round Church--Halstead-An Old Warrior's Shield -Names of Places on Maps-A Charming Village-Thatched Cottages-A half-timbered Home.
WANDERING about the old-fashioned town of Sudbury we espied a photographer's shop and stepped therein in quest of local views. Looking over a quantity of prints our attention was arrested by one showing what appeared to be a decapitated head set up in a recess of a wall. Our curiosity was aroused by this weird and strange picture, and we asked for particulars about it. We were told that it was the head of Archbishop Simon of Sudbury, who was put to death by the rebels under Wat Tyler, and that it was preserved exactly as represented in the photograph in the vestry of St. Gregory's Church. We at once determined to see the ghastly relic, and the photographer kindly permitted his little girl to go with us to point out where the clerk lived, for, said he, 'it's not always easy for a stranger to discover the clerk' the truth of which statement we fully endorsed from former experience in clerk-seeking.. We gladly,