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in the City of London, having distinctly
refused, after a debate three days long,
and by a majority of nearly seven to one,
to associate itself with any Metropolitan
Cattle-Market unless it be held in the midst
of the City, it follows that we shall lose the
inestimable advantages of common counselling
protection, and be thrown, for a market, on
our own wretched resources. In all human
probability we shall thus come, at last, to
erect a monument of folly very like this
French monument. If that be done, the
consequences are obvious. The leather trade
will be ruined, by the introduction of American
timber, to be manufactured into shoes for
the fallen English; the Lord Mayor will be
required, by the popular voice, to live entirely
on frogs; and both these changes will (how,
is not at present quite clear, but certainly
somehow or other) fall on that unhappy
landed interest which is always being killed,
yet is always found to be aliveand kicking.


I FANCY the habit I have contracted of
conversing with what we commonly call
inanimate objects, or, at least, of listening to
their long stories and unlimited confidences,
(which they are much given to repose in me),
arises, in some measure, from the solitary
life I lead. I cannot indeed affirm, with
truth, that I am altogether a solitary old
fellow, seeing I am such a near neighbour to
the Chase; neither can I pretend that I am the
confidant of inanimate objects alone. You
must know, by the way, that the Chase is the
old housethe house in point of factof my

How well I remember the time, now about
seventeen years ago, when I first arrived to
take possession of the "Den" as I, somewhat
misanthropically, christened my new abode.
I calmed myself with the reflection that,
although Olivia (which I still think a pretty
name) had turned out a flirt, and tried (but
unsuccessfully) to break my heart, there was
"balm in Gilead." The flutter and flurry of
Life were over; no more long expectations,
and slow disappointments; all "that sort of
thing" was at an end; and, if I were
occasionally dull, at least, I should be quiet.

But, talk of single blessedness, talk of
having "no encumbrances," as our country-people
say, I do not see that my old bachelorship
has saved me from any of the anxieties
to which fathers, with a whole house full of
children, are subject! I am sure I might
have had five sons, and a profession apiece to
provide for them, and they need not have
given me half the trouble or the heartache
that that one little black-eyed gipsy at the
Chase has occasioned menot to mention
Harry! Ah, I have had a pretty time of it
at the Den, altogether! I have been a sort
of barometer, entirely at the mercy of the
changes of atmosphere at the Chase! I believe
a slight tendency to a pulmonary complaint
has saved my life, or my reason, before now.
I often think I should have been worried to
death if I had remained at home without
intermission. The Physician who
recommended a southern climate, occasionally, did
not know half the good he was doing me.

But, I am always running on in this way.
I forget where I was.— No I don't! I
remember. I began by alluding to inanimate
objects. Well! I remember, distinctly enough,
the day when, having taken possession of
my Den, I went, for the first time, bemoaning
my sad fate as the victim of social civility,
up and down those tortuous paths that form
the short cut from the Den to the Chase
dwarf avenues of stunted underwood, with
here and there a large tree, ivy-clasped; but,
the fern itself is as high, in some parts, as small
trees, and quite thick enough to hide in: as the
children at the Chase soon discovered, when
they wished to waylay me. Of one thing I am
quite sure; the birds sing nowhere so sweetly,
or so late, or so early in the day, or in the
season, as along that path; and the wild
flowers are so bright and so luxuriant that the
garden at the Chase looked dull to me after
them; but, then, I always have loved wild
flowers best.

I am wandering again. It's my way to
lose my way. I proceeded to the Chase, for
the purpose of returning the visit which the
master of the Chase had made to me; and I
was left in the hall, while the servant, with
those troublesome scruples regarding the exact
truth of "not at home " which I suppose are
peculiar to country servants, hunted his
unfortunate master and mistress into every
possible nook and comer of house, pleasure-ground,
and garden.

I spent the interim, patiently and pleasantly
enough, in the hall. It was a picturesque old
hall. Not on a large scale; not a fine hall;
but, well fitted up, with a billiard-table in the
middle, that had more of a social than a
gambling aspect: with plenty of cricket-bats,
and fishing-rods, and whips, and gardening
utensils, and some out-of-door children's toys,
pleasantly scattered about.

"Something straightforward and honest,
in a hall of this kind," thought I. " It gives
you an insight into the character of the
people you are going to meet. "As I thought
this, my eye fell on an old Hat-stand, whom I
immediately took to my bosom as, and have
ever since considered and called, my Mahogany

It was not a very old Hat-stand, then, I
suppose; but, old or young, we made friends
that minute.

I began our acquaintance by scrutinising
the "tree," or, in other words, the arms of my
mahogany friend, very narrowly. On the
topmost branch, hung the master's hatrather
lower in the crown than the generality of
hats, but, quite conventional enough to pass