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On a fine morning in July, two hundred
travellers might have been seen leisurely
wandering along the road leading from the
Kelvedon Railway Station to the good hostelry,
the Star and Fleece. They had come down
that morning from London by a special train.
Before the doors of the Star and Fleece, upon
the road that winds among the gabled houses
and gardens of an Essex village, Kelvedon
itself, horses stood ready caparisoned in vans,
in carts, in phaetons, in waggons, in omnibuses,
to convey the travellers to Tiptree Hall, for
on that day the magician who, during the last
eight years, has performed strange works
upon the top of Tiptree Hill, had summoned
men from afar to behold his annual display of

Mechifor that is the magician's name
dwelt for a long time as a necromancer in the
heart of London, wearing outwardly the
semblance of a tradesman, but prospering in
trade by the exercise of magic. We have all
heard of his work of art, commonly called the
magic strop, out of which a few passes made
with an edged tool are said to produce
wonderful results. Carrying his magic with
him into this and similar devices, it is not
surprising that he should have at last gone
so far as to succeed in making money. For
the attainment of this result, it is reported
that the necromancer needed aid from no less
than three demons, named Sense, Energy, and
Enterprise; and it is believed by some that
he has carried these demons with him to the
country, together with a portion of the money
they have made, and that there they are all
labouring together to create a magic farm
upon the top of Tiptree Hill. There are
some, also, who state that, as there are
necromantic crystals in which it is said that only
the fresh eyes of children can see wonders,
so the magic in the works on Tiptree Hill
is of a kind that can be practised only by
a person having his wits clear and his
temper good. If so, the magician cannot be
a man whose hall we shall be disinclined
to visit.

We get, therefore, with a good will into
the omnibus that is to carry us to Tiptree,
and listen to the talk within, for the soil
without is dreary and the dull road, about
which no tricks of gramarye have yet been

"Is a straight ride unadvised by
The least mischief worth a nay
Up and downas dull as grammar on the eve
         of holiday."

A field outside, however, has suggested to
some of our neighbours, who are all farmers
visiting the magic farm, an animated dialogue
on beans, and we have had mentally a heavy
feed of beans, before new speakers arise, and
there occurs a change of topic.

The next topic is corn: one inexpert theorist
considering a whitened field to be white for
the harvest, is informed that it is white with
the multitude of blighted and dead stalks.
The land is miserably poor; in some places
the earth is left without attempt at cultivation,
and shows but an inch or two of soil,
where it has been cut for gravel. Then we
come to a bare heath, Tiptree heath; the Hall
is close by. Surely no man, unless he meant
to farm by magic, would have selected such
inhospitable ground in which to sow his seed,
and hope for increase. Here are fields of
promising appearance, concerning which the
omnibus conductor volunteers some information.
He is a genius of the soil, in a loam-
coloured suit, with stains of clay upon his
person, who by some art has been
transformed into an omnibus conductor. "Ah,"
he says, " you hadn't a seen carn like that
some year ago. That's Mr. Mechi's doing.
The people used to laugh at 'un, but you may
see by the carn they 've picked up some of
his ideas." The genius of the soil is evidently
glad of it, the soil itself seems to be glad of it,
and send up its productions with a flourish.

The heath, however, there is no denying.
The genius of the soil points to luxuriant
corn on one side of the way, and many voices
cry (not from the bowels of the earth, but
from the bowels of the omnibus,) "that 's
Mechi's!" We are at the outer gate of
Tiptree Hall, and from a patch of barren heath,
left at the threshold to remind all comers of
what had been, we pass instantly between a
wealth of shrubs and flowers, and our omnibus
drives up to the Hall door.

Behind the door stands the magician,
welcoming those friends who in vans, carts,
phaetons, waggons, and omnibuses are collecting