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with long-necked bottles, most extravagant. But still we do not object to your establishment,-far from it, we admire it much-nor is there a single house in town where we make ourselves more agreeable to a late hour, or that we leave with a greater quantity of wine of a good quality under our girdle. Few things would give us more temporary uneasiness, than to hear of any embarrassment in your money concerns. We are not people to forget good fare, we assure you; and long and far may all shapes of sorrow keep aloof from the hospitable board, whether illuminated by gas, oil-lamp, or candle.
But what we were going to say was this—that the head of such a house ought not to live, when ruralizing, in a cottage. He ought to be consistent. Nothing so beautiful as consistency. What then is so absurd as to cram yourself, your wife, your numerous progeny, and your scarcely less numerous menials, into a concern called a cottage? The ordinary heat of a baker's oven is very few degrees above that of a brown study, during the month of July, in a substantial, low-roofed cottage. Then the smell of the kitchen! How it aggravates the sultry closeness ! A strange, compounded, inexplicable smell of animal, vegetable, and mineral matter! It is at the worst during the latter part of the forenoon, when every thing has been got into preparation for cookery. There is then nothing savoury about the smell,—it is dull, dead, -almost cata. combish. A small back kitchen has it in its power to destroy the sweetness of any cottage. Add a scullery, and the three are omnipotent. Of the eternal clashing of pots, pans, plates, trenchers, and general crockery, we now say nothing; indeed, the sound somewhat relieves the smell, and the ear comes occasionally in to the aid of the nose. Such noises are Godsends; but not so the scolding of the cook and butler,-at first low and tetchy, with pauses,—then sharp, but still interrupted,-by and by loud and ready in reply,-finally a discordant gabble of vulgar sury, like maniacs quarrelling in bedlam. Hear it you must, -you and all the strangers. To explain it away is impossible ; and your fear is, that Alecto, Tisi. phone, or Megæra, will come flying into the parlour with a bloody cleaver, dripping with the butler's brains. During
the time of the quarrel, the spit has been standing still, and a jigot of the five-year-old black-face burnt on one side to a cinder.-" To dinner with what appetite you may.”
It would be quite unpardonable to forget one especial smell which irretrievably ruined our happiness during a whole summer,—the smell of a dead rat. The accursed vermin died somewhere in the cottage ; but whether beneath a floor, within lath and plaster, or in roof, baffled the conjectures of the most sagacious. The whole family used to walk about the cottage for hours every day, snuffing on a travel of discovery; and we distinctly. remember the face of one elderly maiden lady at the moment she thought she had traced the source of the fumée to the wall behind a window-shutter. But even at the very same instant we ourselves had proclaimed it with open nostril from a press in an opposite corner. Terriers were procured, but the dog Billy himself would have been at fault. To pull down the whole cottage would have been difficult,-at least to build it up again would have been so; so we had to submit Custom, they say, is second nature, but not when a dead rat is in the house. No, none can ever be accustomed to that; yet good springs out of evil, for the live rats could not endure it, and emigrated to a friend's house, about a mile off, who has never had a sound night's rest from that day. We have not revisited our cottage for several years; but time does wonders, and we were lately told by a person of some veracity, that the smell was then nearly gone,-but our informant is a gentleman of blunted olfactory nerves, having been engaged from seventeen to seventy in a soap-work,
Smoke too! More especially that mysterious and infernal sort, called back-smoke! The old proverb, “ No smoke without fire,” is a base lie. We have seen smoke without fire in every room in a most delightful cottage we once inhabited during the dog-days. The moment you rushed for refuge even in a closet, you were blinded and stifled; nor shall we ever forget our horror on being within an ace of smotheration in the cellar. At last, we groped our way into the kitchen. Neither cook nor jack was
visible. We heard, indeed, a whirring and revolving noise-and then suddenly Girzie swearing ihrough the mist. Yet all this while people were admiring our cottage from a distance, and especially this self-same accursed back-smoke, some portions of which had made an excursion up the chimneys, and was wavering away in a spiral form to the sky, in a style captivating to Mr. Price on the Picturesque.
No doubt, there are many things very romantic about a cottage. Creepers, for example. Why, sir, these creepers are the most mischievous nuisance that can afflict a family. There is no occasion for mentioning names, but-devil take all parasites. Some of the rogues will actually grow a couple of inches upon you in one day's time; and when all other honest plants are asleep, the creepers are hard at it all night long, stretching out their toes and their fingers, and catching an inextricable hold of every wall they can reach, till, finally, you see them thrusting their impudent heads through the very slates. Then, like other low-bred creatures, they are covered with vermin. All manner of moths-the most grievous grubs-slimy slugs-spiders spinning toils to ensnare the caterpillar-earwigs and slaters, that would raise the gorge of a country curate wood-lice—the slaver of gowk’s-spittle-midges-jockswith-the-many-legs-in short, the whole plague of insects infest that-Virgin's bower. Open the lattice for half an hour, and you find yourself in an entymological museum. Then, there are no pins fixing down the specimens. All these beetles are alive, more especially the enormous blackguard crawling behind your ear. A moth plumps into your tumbler of cold negus, and goes whirling round in meal, till he makes absolute porritch. As you open your mouth in amazement, the large blue-bottle-fly, having made his escape from the spiders, and seeing that not a moment is to be lost, precipitates himself head-foremost down your throat, and is felt, aster a few ineffectual struggles, settling in despair at the very bottom of your stomach. Still, no person will be so unreasonable as to deny that creepers on a cottage are most beautiful. For, the sake of their beauty, some little sacrifices must be made of one's comforts, especially as it is only for one
half of the year, and last really was a most delightful summer
How truly romantic is a thatch roof! The eaves how commodious for sparrows! What a paradise for rats and mice! What a comfortable colony of vermin! They all bore their own tunnels in every direction, and the whole interior becomes a Cretan labyrinth. Frush, frush becomes the whole cover in a few seasons; and not a bird can open his wing, not a rat switch his tail, without scattering the straw like chaff. Eternal repairs ! Look when you will, and half a dozen thatchers are riding on the rigging : of all operatives they are most inoperative. Then there is always one of the number descending the ladder for a horn of ale! Without warning, the straw is all used up; and no more fit for the purpose can be got within twenty miles. They hint heather--and you sigh for slate - the beautiful sky-blue, sea-green, Ballahulish slate! But the summer is nearly over and gone, and you must be flitting back to the city-so you let the job stand over to spring, and the soaking rains and shows of a long winter search the cottage to its heart's core, and every floor is ere long laden with a crop of fungi—the bed-posts are orna. mented curiously with lichens, and mosses bathe the walls with their various and inimitable lustre.
Every thing is romantic that is pastoral-and what more pastoral than sheep? Accordingly, living in a cottage, you kill your own mutton. Great lubberly Leicesters or South Downs are not worth the mastication, so you keep the small black-face. Stone walls are ugly things, you think, near a cottage, so you have rails or hurdles. Day and night are the small black-face, out of pure spite, bouncing through or over all impediments, after an adventurous leader, and despising the daisied turf, keep nibbling away at all your rare flowering shrubs, till your avenue is a desolation. Every twig has its little hall of wool, and it is a rare time for the nest-makers. You purchase a colley, but he compromises the affair with the fleecy nation, and contents himself with barking all night long at the moon, if there happen to be one, if not, at the firmament of his kennel. You are too humane to hang or drown Luath, so you give him to a friend. But Luath is
in love with the cook, and pays her nightly visits. Afraid of being entrapped, should he step into the kennel, he takes up his station, after supper, on a knoll within earrange, and pointing his snout to the stars, joins the music of the spheres, and is himself a perfect Sirius. The gardener at last gets orders to shoot him and the gun being somewhat rusty, bursts and blows off his left hand-so that Andrew Fairservice retires on a pension.
Of all breeds of cattle we most admire the Alderney. They are slim, delicate, wild-deer-looking creatures, that give an air to a cottage. But they are most capricious milkers. Of course you may make your own butter; that is to say, with the addition of seven or eight pur. chased pounds weekly, you are not very often out of that commodity. Then, once or twice in a summer, they suddenly lose their temper, and chase the governess and your daughters over the edge of a gravel-pit. Nothing they like so much as the tender sprouts of cauliflower, nor do they abhor green pease. The garden-hedge is of privet, a pretty fence, and fast growing, but not formidable to a four-year-old. On going to eat a few gooseberries by sunrise, you start a covey of cows, that in their alarm plunge into the hot-bed with a smash, as if all the glass in the island had been broken-and rushing out at the gate at the critical instant little Tommy is tottering in, they leave the heir-apparent, scarcely deserving that name, half hidden in the border. There is no sale for such outlandish animals in the home-market, and it is not Martinmas, so you must make a present of them to the president or five silver-cup-man of an agricultural society, and receive, in return, a sorry red-round, desperately saltpetred, at Christmas.
What is a cottage in the country, unless “ your banks are all furnished with bees, whose murmurs invite one to sleep?" There the hives stand, like four-and-twenty fiddlers all in a row. Not a more harmless insect in all this world than a bee. Wasps are devils incarnate, but bees are fleshly sprites, as amiable as industrious. You are strolling along, in delightful mental vacuity, looking at a poem of Barry Cornwall's, when smack comes an insuri. ated honey-maker against your eye-lid, and plunges into