I was pleasantly impressed with one feature of the economy that ruled at Chatsworth. Although there were between one and two thousand deer flecking the park, it was utilised to the pasture of humbler and more useful animals. Over one hundred poor people’s cows were feeding demurely over its vast extent, even to the gilded gates of the palace. They are charged only 2 pounds for the season; which is very moderate, even cheaper than the stony pasturage around the villages of New England. I noticed a flock of Spanish sheep, black-and-white, looking like a drove of Berkshire hogs, and seemingly clothed with bristles instead of wool. They are kept rather as curiosities than for use.
Chatsworth, with all its treasures and embodiments of wealth, art and genius, with an estate continuous in one direction for about thirty miles, is but one of the establishments of the Duke of Devonshire. He owns a palace on the Thames that might crown the ambition of a German prince. He also counts in his possessions old abbeys, baronial halls, parks and towns that once were walled, and still have streets called after their gates. If any country is to have a personage occupying such a position, it is well to have a considerable number of the same class, to yeomanise such an aristocracy—to make each feel that he has his peers in fifty others. Otherwise an isolated duke would have to live and move outside the pale of human society; a proud, haughty entity dashing about, with not even a comet’s orbit nor any fixed place in the constellation of a nation’s communities. It is of great necessity to him, independent of political considerations, that there is a House of Peers instituted, in which he may find his social level; where he may meet his equals in considerable numbers, and feel himself but a man.
SHEFFIELD AND ITS INDIVIDUALITY—THE COUNTRY,
ABOVE GROUND AND UNDER
GROUND—WAKEFIELD AND LEEDS—WHARF VALE—FARNLEY HALL—HARROGATE;
RIPLEY CASTLE; RIPON; CONSERVATISM OF COUNTRY TOWNS—FOUNTAIN ABBEY;
STUDLEY PARK—RIEVAULX ABBEY—LORD FAVERSHAM’S SHORT-HORN STOCK.
From Chatsworth I went on to Sheffield, crossing a hilly moorland belonging to the Duke of Rutland, and containing 10,000 acres in one solid block. It was all covered with heather, and kept in this wild, bleak condition for game. Here and there well-cultivated farms, as it were, bit into this cold waste, rescuing large, square morsels of land, and making them glow with the warm flush and glory of luxuriant harvests; thus showing how such great reaches of desert may be made to blossom like the rose under the hand of human labor.
Here is Sheffield, down here, sweltering, smoking, and sweating, with face like the tan, under the walls of these surrounding hills. Here live and labor Briareus and Cyclops of modern mythology. Here they—
Swing their heavy sledge,
With measured beats and slow;
Like the sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.