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players would look very pretty on a grassplot,
on a summer evening, with a gay background
of flowery parterres?


It still wanted ten days of the actual
formation of the Camp at Chobham, when I
proceeded, one merry day in June, to Chertsey
by railway, very much after the manner set
forth in a previous number of Household
Words.* In the road outside the station-
yard a jovial-looking, fair-haired, red-faced,
farmer-like sort of man had drawn up his cart
on his return to Chobham from Chertsey
market, to invite wayfarers to be conveyed in
his wooden convenience to the Camp, for the
small charge of three shillings. His offer had
been refused by more than one person when I
accosted him; and, after a very brief parley,
I found myself tilting along the shady road
and conversing amicably with my companion.
Pie was a gentleman whose information did
not extend far beyond the boundaries of his
own parish; neither was he gifted with much
imagination. Moreover, the faculty of
eloquence appeared to have been denied him;
but still he had something to say, and he
said it. He had heard tell of the former
camp " in the old king's time." He did not
remember it, I supposed? " Lord bless you,
no, 't happened afore I was born; I 'm only
five-and-forty, but my mother remembers it
she does. She went to see it once when
my father and her was courting." Once!
The great era of this old lady's life. " Why,
she saw George the Third, and Queen
Charlotte, and all the princesses, and a heap of
lords and ladies come over from Windsor
by nine o'clock in the morning; when the
general, whose name she couldn't remember,
but he was Duke of Something, rode on a
white horse and had two running footmen,
dressed in white, who carried his messages
to everybody about him. She would have
been trampled to death, she would, only her
young man (my friend's father ' as was ' ) got
her out of the crowd of men and horses, and
took her back safe to Chobham. O! she
remembers a deal more, as I've heerd her tell
on, but I don't mind it now; 'cause you see,"
he threw in by way of apology for the brevity
of his memory, " 't warn't no business of mine,
you know."

But there was something that was his
business. He was a copyholder, and, "like
a many more in Chobham," had right of
common, and what he wanted to know was,
"what they (the Chobhamites) was to get in
the way of compensation or something?" for
the exact; nature of his claim was not quite
clear to him. " However," he philosophically
observed, " the Court would soon settle that,
and then he should have his rights, he
supposed, whatever they was! " The
jurisdiction to which he referred was simply the
Court Baron at Chobham; which, in his
estimation, appeared to rank with the celebrated
Vehm- Gericht, whose mystic proceedings
were held beneath the shade of the oak and
lime-tree. Whatever opinion he held on
this point, he did not attempt to enforce it by
antiquarian illustration. Had he done so he
might have plunged into a dissertation as
entertaining as that of the county historian,
who tells us that Chobham was originally
written Cebeham, and belonged to the
Abbey of Ceortseye, originally called the Isle
of Cirotis, although, continues the candid
narrator, " who Cirotis was is wholly
unknown; " and that " a composition, called
Mead Silver, was paid for many meadows in
the parish, in lieu of tythe-pay, bearing one
penny per acre," a payment " said to have
been originally settled in consideration of the
inhabitants feeding the Abbot's deer." Good
old times those, when the perquisites of vert
and venison were vested in the church!
And yet the Abbot's successors
notwithstanding Mr. Horsman and the Ecclesiastical
Endowments Commissiondo not altogether,
even at the present day, clothe themselves in
sackcloth and ashes, and forswear the haunch
and the flagon. It was the monks who
planted the vineyards of which England once
could  show a great many: one of these,
placed on the top of St. Ann's Hill, half-a-
mile out of Chertsey was a cultivated, though
not a wine-producing, " vine-garden, in the
memory," says the historian, " of a gentleman
now living" (one thousand eight hundred and
four). Perchance, too, it was they who gave
the name of Gracious Pond to a large pool
or lake on the heath close by Chobham, about
three-quarters of a mile in length, and
covering an extent of sixty acres; they might
have countenanced the belief, that by the
miraculous interposition of Our Ladye of G
odleyas the Abbey of Chertsey was
also calledthe springs in that district rarely
freeze. But it must have been the superstition
of the peasants, not theirs, which imagined,
as old Aubrey narrates, that " on the top of
the north side of the hill (St. Ann's), was a
huge stone or conglobation of gravel and sand,
which could not be moved, and under it lay
great treasure," for the monks would scarcely
have left the matter in doubt, or the stone

Instead of talking about the past, my
charioteer discussed the present, dropping his
sentences now and then, as if he felt their
full value. He had a good word to say of
most of the landed proprietors beside whose
grounds we drove, but he was almost eloquent
in favour of one, a gentleman (he named him)
from London, formerly a sugar-baker or
confectioner, who came down into those parts
about five-and-twenty years ago, and bought
up " ever such a breadth of the old heath."

"Where you see them plantations,"
he continued, pointing to fine clumps and doubly-

* See Vol. vi. page 469.