There was one feature of this great farm home which I regarded with much satisfaction. It was the housing of the laborers employed on the estate. This is done in blocks of well-built, well-ventilated, and very comfortable cottages, all within a stone’s throw of the noble old mansion occupied by Mr. Jonas. Thus, no long and weary miles after the fatigue of the day, or before its labor begins, have to be walked over by his men in the cold and dark, as in many cases in which the agricultural laborer is obliged to trudge on foot from a distant village to his work, making a hard and sunless journey at both ends of the day.
Although my visit at this, perhaps the largest, farming establishment in England, occupied only a few hours, I felt on leaving that I had never spent an equal space of time more profitably and pleasantly in the pursuit or appreciation of agricultural knowledge. The open and large-hearted hospitality and genial manners of the proprietor and his family seemed to correspond with the dimensions and qualities of his holding, and to complete, vitalise, and beautify the symmetries of a true ENGLISH FARMER’S HOME.
ROYSTON AND ITS SPECIALITIES—ENTERTAINMENT
IN A SMALL VILLAGE—ST.
IVES—VISITS TO ADJOINING VILLAGES—A FEN-FARM—CAPITAL INVESTED IN
ENGLISH AND AMERICAN AGRICULTURE COMPARED—ALLOTMENTS AND GARDEN
TENANTRY—BARLEY GROWN ON OATS.
From Chrishall Grange I went on to Royston, where I found very quiet and comfortable quarters in a small inn called “The Catherine Wheel,” for what reason it is not yet clear to my mind, and the landlady could not enlighten me on the subject. I have noticed two inns in London of the same name, and have seen it mounted on several other public houses in England. Why that ancient saint and the machinery of her torture should be alone selected from the history and host of Christian martyrs, and thus associated with houses of entertainment for man and beast, is a mystery which I will not undertake to explore. To be sure, the head of a puncheon of rum is round like a wheel, and if the liquor were not too much diluted with water, it might make a revolving illumination quite interesting, if set on fire and rolled into the gutter. It may possibly suggest that lambent ignition of the brain which the fiery drinks of the establishment produce, and which so many infatuated victims think delightful. Both these inferences, and all others I could fancy, are so dubious that I will not venture further into the meaning of this singular appellation given to a tavern.