Grain and Chaff from an English Manor eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 308 pages of information about Grain and Chaff from an English Manor.
(Ebrington, on the Cotswolds), and Vashti was somewhat reluctant to admit that it was her “natif,” as a birthplace is called in the district.  Among the traditions of Yabberton it is related that the farmers, being anxious to prolong the summer, erected hurdles to wall in the cuckoo, and that they manured the church tower, expecting it to sprout into an imposing steeple!  There is a place in Surrey, Send, with a similar reputation, where the inhabitants had to visit a pond before they could tell that rain was falling!

But perhaps the best story of the kind is told in the New Forest, where the Isle of Wight is regarded as the acme of stupidity.  When the Isle of Wight people first began to walk erect, instead of on all fours, they are said to have waggled their arms and hands helplessly before them, saying, “And what be we to do with these-um?”

Classical names are very uncommon among villagers, but in my old Surrey parish there was one which was the cause of much speculation.  The name was Hercules; it originated in a disagreement between the parents, before the child was christened.  The mother wanted his name to be John, but the father insisted, that as an older son was Noah, the only possible name for the new baby was “Hark” (Ark).  They had a lengthy argument, and there was no definite understanding before reaching the church.  The mother, when asked to “name this child,” being flustered, hesitated, but finally stammered out, “Hark, please.”  The vicar was puzzled, and repeated the question with the same result; a third attempt was equally unsuccessful, and the vicar, in despair, falling back upon his classical knowledge, christened the child Hercules.  A few days later the vicar called at the cottage, and the mother explained the matter, relating how indignant she was with her husband, and how on the way home, “Hark, I says to him, ain’t the name of a Christian, it’s the name of a barge!”

CHAPTER XXVI.

IS ALDINGTON (FORMER SITE) THE ROMAN ANTONA?

“Imperious Caesar, dead and turn’d to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away: 
O, that that earth, which kept the world in awe
Should patch a wall to expel the winter’s flaw!”

          
                                                                                  —­Hamlet.

One of my fields—­about five acres—­called Blackbanks from its extraordinarily black soil, over a yard deep in places, and the more remarkable because the soil of the surrounding fields is stiff yellowish clay, showed other indications of long and very ancient habitation.  Among the relics found was a stone quern, measuring about 21 inches by 12 by 7-3/4, and having, on each of two opposite sides, a basin-shaped depression about 6 inches in diameter at the top, and 2-3/4 inches in depth; also a small stone ring, 1-1/4 inches in diameter, and 3/8ths in thickness, with

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Grain and Chaff from an English Manor from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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