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that is worth seeingare separated from us
by a door, which no official can open without
another silver key, to be given to an
authorised guide.

We are by no means at liberty to roam
about the ruins alone, and at our leisure,
to think of the monkish days gone by, to
hold communion with the spirits of the past
that dwell amid the lichen and the mould.
No: we must follow a guide. We give him
his silver key, and dog his heels. He is an
old, grey man, with the marks of some sixty
summers upon him. He seems to travel over
the ground mechanically, and to halt before
little odd relics with the precision of an
automaton. He recalls the romances of the past
with the enthusiasm of a speaking doll. He
pauses near the stables of the owner to
show us the remains of a stone coffin, and
points to the cutting in the stone shaped
to receive a head; and then he hurries
forward into the gardens of the Abbey. He walks
into a space enclosed on three sides by
crumbling walls pierced with unglazed apertures,
like eyeless sockets: this is the refectory.
We pass some fine cedars (to one of which a
hammock is slung, and a luxurious gentleman
lies at full length smoking his cigar), and then
we halt before some scattered stones, called
the ruins of the Abbey church. As even the
ground plan of the building is hardly
distinguishable, we hasten forward once more, and
soon arrive at the cloisters and the crypt.
Here we certainly find some very fine old
arches spanning the space, which space is
filled with agricultural implements. Now we
have seen all that remains of the Abbey of

We are not impressed with our visit. The
ruins are so far gone, that they have lost all
claims to the picturesque, and are attractive
only as the crumbling remnants of one of the
greatest of those old mysterious abbeys upon
which the unscrupulous hand of the eighth
Henry fell in the sixteenth century. They are
still visited, not because they have any claim
upon the artistic eye, but because they are
linked with the history of that past upon
which our present has been raised. Associations
that recall the struggles we have
survived, the religious tyrannies we have
vanquished, the grovelling superstitions that have
been trodden under foot, gather about these
damp, grey stones, and are hardly scared away
by the frigid, systematic old showmen by
whom they are introduced to visitors.

It must be confessed that we have a hearty
dislike to approach ruins by means of silver
keys. Our moral sense is offended. We
feel that the scene of the battle of
Pumpkinfield, and the Abbey raised to
commemorate the struggle, belong to all Englishmen.
The soil has its owner; and, may
his crops be abundant; but to all of us
belong the associations that draw pilgrims
to it. The dawn of tyranny recalled by
Pumpkinfield is not a memory dear to
Englishmen; and the Abbey is not visited
with the same feelings which attract the
traveller to Runnymede; but it is the scene
of one of the most important events that have
happened on the island, and for this reason is
the highway to it a well-beaten track. To
whom, then, does the historic association
belong? We apprehend, to all Englishmen,
and not to the power that requires silver
keys to the Abbey ruins.

Undoubtedly the law is on the side of
Simpson, and he is at liberty to hide the
ruins from the public eye altogether; but
it is hardly fair to barter the associations
which belong to all Englishmento turn
a few paltry pence upon the popular
recollection of a great Saxon struggle. We
have not the pleasure of Simpson's acquaintance.
We find that a Simpson was painted
by Vandyke; but our visit to Pumpkinfield
had no reference to this interesting discovery.
In the early part of last century Simpson was
a name unknown in Pumpkinfield. Simpson,
therefore, has no historic halo flitting around
him. His title to the soil and the ruins is,
we are told, indisputable; and we also learn
that he gave a round sum for the property;
but then Simpson did not buy all the legends
and all the romance which cling to the mossy
granite, and attract pilgrims to his eleven-
acre field, now burnished with sun-kissed

But, after all, Simpson only follows the
example of his bettersfor nearly all the
historic relics of old England open only with
silver keys, and many solemn peers of
Belgravia are, in their respective counties,
speculating showmen.


A CORRESPONDENT tells us there is only
one way of conquering such a bush fire as
was described in No. 75 of "Household

"Meet the enemy," he says, " with a front
of fire as extended as his own, in regular
order of battle. Let your troops advance
boldly to the charge, and in a very short
time not a vestige of the rapacious monster
will remain. Instead of running far and near
for all hands to come and help in beating
out the raging foe, two persons can with
perfect ease overcome him. The mode of
proceeding is this:—One carries a lighted stick;
the other a green branch. Having gone as far
from their own preserves as possible, until
they come within about two hundred yards
of the enemy, the first sets fire to the grass,
advancing in parallel line with the approaching
fire; the second beats out the flames on
the side next the preserves only, allowing that
facing the enemy to advance; which of course
soon brings the affair to a conclusion, and
keeps matters comfortable at home."

This is doubtless an efficacious application
of the principle upon which houses are blown