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whereon grew one of the most magnificent drooping willows in England, or perhaps, the world.
Facing the entrance hall, or rather passage, which led directly to the farm yard at the back, was a small gate, corresponding with the lead-coloured palisades which fenced a flower.garden to the right and left. In the former, the parlour-windows, on a level with the garden, displayed cycamens, fuscias, campanulas and geraniums in rich variety; and to the left of the window, stood a row of wellthatched bee-hives, shewing the farmer's domestic economy, in the midst of abundant supplies of sweet herbs and flowers for the use of their industrious occupants.
“When summer shines,
The long vaulted passage was entered by a flight of granite, or, as there called,"" moorstone" steps. On the right-hand, was the seldom-opened parlour-door, except when the plants in the windows required watering; or when, in the summer, or at “revel” time “gentlefolks” might come and “pic-nic" it, or to eat cream and strawberries, juncate and syllabubs, and, as the farmer's wife, “Mrs. Grubbs," called them,“ zitch likes."
A little beyond the parlour, to the left, a huge Dutch door, that seemed as if cut transversely, so that the under part was independent of the upper, by which means the former might be closed, whilst the latter remained open, “to keep the pigs out,” it was said—led to the most comfortable of all comfortable kitchens of the olden time. Over the door, was a magnificent pair of antlers, upon which hung scythes and salmon spears “out of harm's way," and the door-way was quite large enough to admit a pipe of cider“ broad-side on. Directly facing the door, stood the well smoked fire-place, or “chimley," upon whose hearth blazed day and night the crackling faggot or the well-dried “terves ;" and, in the centre of the “chimley” hung, suspended from an iron bar, the whole length of the fire-place, by huge pot-hooks, the family's “crock," through
to sit upon
whose smoke-dried cover appeared the handle of the “brath” ladle, as big as a farmer's walking-stick, and as black as the “ crock" itself
crock” which was never allowed time to cool.. On each side the fire-place, and within the chimney's precincts, stood a low form with a high railed back-one was sacred to the “grandfer” of the family, and the other to the nurse or nurses in charge of young “ hopefuls,” who might visit “ Llantilham” for the benefit of the “sea air.” The most cogent reason for Jack's long sojourn at the “Manor-house Farm,” was that he was better there than elsewhere, as matters went in the “home” nursery, where there was a regular succession of squallers to occupy mamma.
“ Mrs. Honor's” notions of precedence, and rank, were if possible, more ridiculous, and disgusting fifty years ago at Llantilham, than those which at the present day predominate at the Indian Presidencies at Calcutta (the most liberal, notwithstanding it is the chief) Madras, and Bombay; for she would not allow “Old Kirch”
the * settle” as herself near the mouth of the oven, “ for that was the nurses exclusive privilege”!! and “ Mrs. Honor” had it therefore all to herself, for there was no one of her own rank to dispute precedence with her. Over the high deal or oak chimney-piece, which the smoke had made of one colour with the clock case, and every wooden thing within its reach, stood, in apple pie order, two brass pestles and mortars, and several well scoured brass candlesticks, the whole surmounted by a large case of bright iron skewers, displayed in the shape of the letter M; and over all hung the family gun, salmon spears, fishing rods, a brass hilted Toledo, of the sixteenth century, and spurs en suite.
A black oak settle that would almost require an Elephant to move it, of about the same age as the family sword and spurs, stood with its back towards the door, and answered the purposes
a screen from the frequent gusts of wind, which, when at the north-east, blew furiously through the vaulted passage. It also supplied drawers and lockers, for all the rags and bee'swax of the family, and its broad back, which was sloped ad libitum, by means of a peg, as large as a rolling pin, answered the double purposes of a rest at
night for the backs of the wearied labourers, and an ironing table by day. Over against the southern wall, stood a long and well scoured form, for those whose seats at table, of which every one knew his own, were next the latticed window; and a huge oak table of equal length with the form on each side of it, stood east and west, and displayed by its innumerable cracks and crevices, both its age, and from the remains of the fine white sand left within them by the poor scullery girl, or “ parish 'prentice's," cleanings of at least thrice a day“ Mrs. Grubb’s” attention to the old maxim that “ cleanliness is next to Godliness."
The aristocratic part of the table was distinguished by a finer, and whiter table-cloth, than the lower end, and the division was marked by a tri-sided salt cellar, the three partitions of which contained fine and coarse salt, and pepper,—the former was occupied by the farmer and his wife, and nurses and their “charges;” and the latter, by the labourers and all but the poor apprentice—the scullery maid of the family !-one table, one dinner for all but her, and at the same time, the notable hour of noon !!
The windows afforded “ Jack" lots of amusement when blockaded by heavy rain—the only thing that confined him except those delightful hours called “ school time.”
The window sills were wide enough for dormitories for a couple of such urchins, as “ Jack” at that period, and their sides were covered with highly colored prints, as far as red, blue, brown and green ochre, vermillion, and gamboge, could effect it, of the execution of the King and Queen of the French, Louis the XVI, and the beautiful Marie Antoinette,- Death of General Wolfe,--Siege of Jerusalem by Titus,-Crucifixion, Invasion of Jersey, and death of Major Pearson,-and Rodney's victory over the Count de Grasse, in the West Indies, with here, there, and everywhere that a space could be found, portraits from old magazines, and rebuses, and conundrums from the “ lady's pocket book” of many preceding years.
One window was appropriated exclusively to religious subjects, namely the “ Witch of Endor raising the ghost of Samuel,” “ Adam
and Eve in Paradise," and their “ Expulsion " thence; the “ Ark upon
the waters,”- “ The whale swallowing Jonas,”- Abraham preparing to sacrifice Isaac,”—the “ Baptism of the Saviour by John,”-and“ Christ raising Lazarus from the tomb," and upon the sill, covered with a bit of green cloth, reposed the family bible, with a long list of the “Grubbs' family,” their births, deaths, &c. Three massive silver clasps which ornamented the venerable book, black with age, but never cleaned “ for fear of wearing them out,” were considered of great value, from the tradition that they were made from the cover of a chalice, plundered from the cathedral of St. Juan de Ulloa, by Sir Francis Drake, in the year 1567 !! By the same bible, the Grubbs, Drake, and Raleigh families, had intermarried; and a list of Drakes as long as a pike-staff occupied the second, third, and fourth leaves, (which appeared to have been originally intended for family records; but one seldom meets with more than one or two blank leaves in modern bibles) many of whose names were nearly obliterated by the “ Ducks and Drakes ” of some genuine young or old asses with ink or tobacco juice. These records, however, made it appear that Drake was only twenty two years old when he sacked “ St. Juan de Ulloa,” what a record in a bible!
The kitchen dresser must not be forgotten; nor the clean and dirty runners ” (as round towels were then called) behind the door,-where the farmer's boys were wont to wipe their noses in cold weather, and their fingers in warm.
The dresser stood against the north wall, for, it is presumed, the benefit of the light from the windows, to display its harlequin variety of pewter platters, real china, or "cheney,' and brass wares in abundance,—the top shelves contained the larger dishes, and the under onesplates and trenchers in succession of sizes. Upon the table part upon a coarse but clean cloth, stood three invented china punch bowls, that had once had belonged to the two worthiest of Danmonian worthies’ Sir Walter Raleigh, and Sir Francis Drake, which invaluable relics had seen the service, the very active service of upwards of two centuries, and shewed abundant cracks; so numerous indeed, that independently of the white lead employed in fitting and keeping the pieces together, the two smaller bowls wereoh, what a falling off from their former glory!-rimm'd with plebeian tin! The drawers of the dresser' contained the table linen and “toweling' of the family in daily use-scraps of old newspapers
and a clothes brush or two-and the space below the drawers was filled with all the brass pans and skillets' of the family arranged in apple pie order ’--- which said household utensils, were laid up in ordinary, and kept brightly scoured by way of ornament; the handles displaying at full length, in cast half inch letters, the names of all their original possessors, ancestors long consigned, to the tomb of all the Grubses.'
THE KITCHEN FIRESIDE AT THE MANOR HOUSE. DEAF KIRCH's EVENING DRESS.--STORY OF RICHARD COUR DE LION AND SONG.
One evening, when all the manor house inmates were assembled as usual, around the enormous fireside (for such a thing as a kitchen range was unknown there,) blazing with green faggots and dry crackling furze--the sheep dogs and Neptune, occupying by general consent the front of the fire, and Jack lying at full length with his head upon Neptunes shaggy sides;--a terriffic dispute arose between deaf Kirch and Mrs. Honor, about seats, the one insisting that the seat next the oven was the sole privilege of 'nurses,' and that it mattered not that she was the only nurse there and that the se at would hold four.' •If four nurses came, well and good,-or three, or two, or one only, the place was their's, or Her's, and too good for market carriers —the other, that she was as good ' although
misfortunate' at being deef' as any nurse among em;' Jack at once determined to avenge the insult offered to his misfortunate favorite, by gently blowing up Mrs. Honor, but not according to modern phraseology, it could not, as he thought to himself, do her any