I had hardly got the words out of my mouth before our ears were startled by a voice hailing us; and after some searching of the eye we espied a man engaged in seeking sea-fowls’ eggs, who had placed himself in a position which I should have thought it absolutely impossible to reach, whence he had seen us, as we now saw him!
Let this then, my brethren, be a warning to you!
Returning from my Breton journey, I reached my mother’s house in York Street on the 23rd of July, 1839, and on the 26th of the same month left London with her to visit my married sister in her new home at Penrith, where Mr. Tilley had established himself as Post Office surveyor of the northern district. His home was a pretty house situated between the town and the well-known beacon on the hill to the north of it.
The first persons I became acquainted with in this, to me, entirely new region, were Sir George Musgrave, of Edenhall, and his wife, who was a sister of Sir James Graham. My brother-in-law took me over to Edenhall, a lovely walk from Penrith, and we found both Sir George and Lady Musgrave at home. We—my mother and I—had not at that time conceived the idea of becoming residents at Penrith. But when subsequently we were led to do so, we found extremely pleasant and friendly neighbours at Edenhall, and though not in strict chronology due in this place, I may throw together my few reminiscences of Sir George.
He was the beau-ideal of a country gentleman of the old school. He rarely or never went to London—not, as was the case with some of his neighbours, because the expense of a season there was formidable, for his estate was a fine one, and he was a rich man living largely within his income, but because his idea was, that a country gentleman’s proper place was on his own acres, and because London had no temptations for him. He was said to be the best landlord in the county, and really seemed to look upon all his numerous tenants, and all their labourers, as his born subjects, to whom protection, kindness, assistance, and general looking after were due, in return for their fealty and loyal attachment. I think he would have kicked off his land (and he was a man who could kick) any man who talked in his hearing of the purely commercial relationship between a landlord and his tenants. Of course he was adored by all the country side. No doubt the stout Cumberland and Westmoreland farmers and hinds were good and loyal subjects of Queen Victoria, but for all practical purposes of reverence and obedience, Musgrave was king at Edenhall.