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jolly old boy, whose idea of luncheon is Stilton and port wine. Further down on the left is Michael the bookseller, of whom there is nothing to be said except that he knows nothing about books. Then we
Then we turn the corner into the market-place—for Silchester actually has a market-place; and we see on a signboard the Silchester Arms; and we see the church and rectory and parish schools just across the rivulet which runs at the bottom of the town.
The church is rather old; the rector is rather young. His name is Arundel Saint Osyth. He is very High Church, and holds daily services, and wears the most amazing costumes. The Squire and he were at Oxford together, but there were several years between them, and in a town and gown row Saint Osyth knocked down a fellow who was just going to settle the Squire from behind. The result was a friendship which in due time made Saint Osyth rector of Silchester. The Squire does not wholly coincide with Mr. Saint Osyth’s propositions and practices; for the rector wants to make himself father confessor to all the
ladies in the neighbourhood. He has ideas of the sacerdotal function which are too strong for Mr. Silchester. Doubtless marriage will make him wiser.
It is a fine old church, with a keen skypointing spire, that looks down upon Silchester market-place. That market-place is one among hundreds, all alike. An irregular trapezoidal space, where on Wednesdays cattle and sheep are penned, while farmers' traps and carriers' carts occupies the rest of the arena. There is the principal inn, down at the corner of the churchyard stile; and three other houses of entertainment; and a pastrycook's shop, where music is sold for the benefit of the tradesmen's daughters; and a little corner where the briskest and most talkative of barbers will be happy, while shaving you or cutting your hair, to tell you all the news of
Silchester; and a chemist's shop of the ordinary village type, whose master would be perplexed if you asked him for hydrate of chloral, or ilicine, or magnesium; and a branch bank from Exeter; and the post-office, kept by a muddle-headed old woman, who also keeps a dame school, and who never can understand how many stamps go for a shilling
Such is the main street or avenue of Silchester. Its outer fringe of surburban life is more difficult to describe. All wayfarers through England must have met with such places, which require rather the pencil than the pen to describe them. Here a cottage in a quiet dell, with a streamlet surrounding it, and no way to the garden gate except by steppingstones. Again, a pleasant little homestead with Orchard all round it, and a suggestive ciderpress reminding those who read the eighteenth century verse of Mr. John Philips's directions to the lover of the apple's wine :
Elsewhere the quaintestold structures of granite, roofed with thatch-standing in all imaginable positions, but mostly having enjoyable views of moorland and sea. And suddenly, as you turn the angle of a beech coppice, you come upon the Doctor's house—his den, he usually calls it. There are our rooms, all on one floor-parlour, bedroom, eaboratory, kitchen. The Doctor's sole servant 's a boy, who sleeps in a loft over the stable where the Doctor's nag, Asklepios, is made combrtable. Jim grooms Asklepios, and makes his master's breakfast; and an old woman who dvells thereby comes in for other purposes; but he house requires no cookery, for the Doctor ilways dines with the Squire. They are intimate in the highest sense. John Silchester, resolved that his people's health should not be ruied through ignorance, was so fortunate as to find a man with real medical capacity who would take charge of his village, for work suited Dr. Sterne, who was only too anxious to retire into the country and complete the Life of Arbuthnot. What happened thereafter was that the Doctor, settling down into his
snug though humble cottage, became almost a member of the Squire's household. He might have lived at Silchester, had ne liked, but he naturally preferred independence. He was so much there, that when colic attacked a man or multiplication a woman they generally sent first to the Squire's.
1 John Silchester always maintaned that the State ought to provide for the physical health of the poor as well as their moal health. By the side of the established Church he would have had an established Docorate. As this could not be done, he supplied its place, in his own parish, by engaging a nan of the highest medical capacity to attend a his own household and on the people round him. Dr.