Percival was guarded in his replies to this and similar outbursts; and Mrs. Middleton, seeing that he showed no disposition to toady his grandfather or to depreciate Horace, told Godfrey Hammond that, though her brother was so absurd about him, she thought he seemed a good sort of young man, after all. “Time will show,” was the answer. Now, this was depressing, for Godfrey had established a reputation for great sagacity.
[TO BE CONTINUED.]
ABBEYS AND CASTLES.
It is a frequent reflection with the stranger in England that the beauty and interest of the country are private property, and that to get access to them a key is always needed. The key may be large or it may be small, but it must be something that will turn a lock. Of the things that charm an American observer in the land of parks and castles, I can think of very few that do not come under this definition of private property. When I have mentioned the hedgerows and the churches I have almost exhausted the list. You can enjoy a hedgerow from the public road, and I suppose that even if you are a Dissenter you may enjoy a Norman abbey from the street. If, therefore, one talks of anything beautiful in England, the presumption will be that it is private; and indeed such is my admiration of this delightful country that I feel inclined to say that if one talks of anything private, the presumption will be that it is beautiful. Here is something of a dilemma. If the observer permits himself to commemorate charming impressions, he is in danger of giving to the world the fruits of friendship and hospitality. If, on the other hand, he withholds his impression, he lets something admirable slip away without having marked its passage, without having done it proper honor. He ends by mingling discretion with enthusiasm, and he says to himself that it is not treating a country ill to talk of its treasures when the mention of each connotes, as the metaphysicians say, an act of private courtesy.
The impressions I have in mind in writing these lines were gathered in a part of England of which I had not before had even a traveller’s glimpse; but as to which, after a day or two, I found myself quite ready to agree with a friend who lived there, and who knew and loved it well, when he said very frankly, “I do believe it is the loveliest corner of the world!” This was not a dictum to quarrel about, and while I was in the neighborhood I was quite of his mind. I felt that it would not take a great deal to make me care for it very much as he cared for it: I had a glimpse of the peculiar tenderness with which such a country may be loved. It is a capital example of the great characteristic of English scenery—of what I should call density of feature. There are no waste details; everything in the landscape is something particular—has a history, has played a part, has a value to the imagination. It is a country of hills and blue undulations, and,