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tided over the evil day without burdening
the parish or bringing ten innocent people
into partnership with his misfortune. It is
not right, let soft-hearted people say what
they will. If such cases were not so very
common I shouldn't have said a word about
this one; and it is only because they are
the rule, and not the exception, that I
mention them. It seems to me, and I know
something of what I am talking about, that
the agricultural poor think no more of the
duties they incur towards society when they
marry, than so many sparrows do. This
may seem harsh, but, God knows, I don't
feel harsh. I own I can see no remedy
for it."

"I think I can see two remedies, "replied
will tend, if rightly administered, to
diminish, if it do not remove, this particular
kind of improvidence among the poor; and
the second will provide a home for the
overflow of our population. There are millions
upon millions of fertile acres in every part
of the world only awaiting the willing hand
to till them. Perhaps we may not be so
far from solving these two problems as
most people think. We move faster than
our forefathers, and I think the day will
come when the only paupers in England
will be the aged and infirm, and when
every strong man will be able, either
to live respectably in England by his
intelligent and educated labour, or to
get comfortably out of it to some other
land, where the chances are more favourable."

"I am afraid," said Mr. Gomm, "that I
shall not live to see the day; but I can
imagine it, nevertheless, and will
certainly not be so wicked, or such a false
prophet, as to predict the contrary."


ONCE I had a comrade true,
He followed my steps the whole day thro';
When I sat in the house by my side sat he,
Never tired of my company;
When I wandered forth into the town,
My comrade followed me, up and down.

Out of the self same dish he fed,
He lay beside me in my bed,
Whatsoever I thought or knew.
My faithful friend had a share in too.
When I went wooing one fine day
My comrade followed me all the way.

And after that in vain I tried
To shake the shadow from my side;
A curse upon that comrade true,
He followed me still the whole day thro'.
Morning and night in every place,
He chid me with his changeless face.

Thro' many a day of wintry weather,
Beside the fire we sulked together;
But when the wintry days were passed
Up to my feet I sprang at last.
"Here on the hearth, if thou wilt, abide!
But I have sworn to be free!" I cried.

I opened the door, I rushed away,
'Twas the gentle morn of an April day;
As I hastened on thro' the quiet street,
The sky was blue and the wind was sweet.
Out thro' the city gate I crept,
The green fields beckoned, my heart uplept.

Blithely along the fields I flew,
My quick feet glistened with gladsome dew;
The merry lark from my feet upsprang,
Wafted the wet from his wings and sang.
The bright sun glistened, the leaves were pearled,
O! but it seemed a gladsome world.

Even then I heard a deep-drawn sigh,
And turning quick, with a bitter cry,
Knitted my brows again, to see
My faithful friend was close to me.
I stood at the foot of a great green hill,
And the weary face was with me still.

"Stay;" he called, full low and sad;
But the breath of the spring had made me mad:
"Farewell for evermore," I cried,
And on I sprang up the steep hill-side;
And up! and up! with my blood in a glow;
I left him lingering far below.

Sweet was the air upon the height,
The wind was sweet, the sky was bright,
And all my heart was full of glee
Now the peevish face was gone from me.
And hour by hour went sweetly by,
Till the sun was low in the western sky.

Down the green height I went again,
The glad thoughts dancing in my brain,
And when I came to the foot of the hill
I found my comrade cold and still.
And I dug him a grave for the sake of his love,
And I wrote this epitaph above:

"Here beside this greenwood way
For years my friend in the city dim,
He loved me better than I loved him:
The scent of flowers, the spring's sweet breath,
The song of the skylark, were his death.

"Over his head let grasses wave,
And the skylark build upon his grave;
Hyacinths and daisies rise
Out of his blue lack-lustre eyes!
Strew ye rue for his sad sake,
But pray that he may never wake!"


LOCH PHLOGIBECH is a large and solitary
mere, in the heart of a melancholy place.
Around it the land undulates into small
hills, with bogs and marshes between, and
to the south-east, high mountains of gneiss,
with crags and precipices innumerable, rise
ashen grey into the clouds. All is very
desolatethe bare mountains, the windy
flats, the ever-sombre sky. There is not a
tree or shrub: instead of underwood, stones
and boulders strew the waste. The mere
itself is black as lead: small islands rise