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regulations complied with, and the journey to
Paris made without any accident to the
driver's passport, — at the gates of the city he
has to pay an octroi of about seventeen shillings
a-head for every beast ; or he may sell outside,
as he generally does, say at Poissy. But
there he has only one customer, — the
incorporation of butchers ; he must take their
price (and they settle that among
themselves); or he must go back again. The animal,
having been duly taxed and registered, is
knocked on the head with a hammer many
pounds too light for humanity, but regulated
by ordonnance ; and then the meat, duly
divided, is categoried, priced by another
municipal authority, and sold to the excellent
cooks and bad judges of meat in Paris.

The agriculture of France, as a matter of
fact as well as of example, affects the stomachs
of all Europe. There has been too much
sounding of trumpets about prizes and
exhibitions ; as if such paraphernalia were more
than the flowers of a feastas if the
rewards of any prince or potentate, professor or
prefect, could create prosperity. Isolated,
inspected, regulated, taxed, trammeled,
octroied, France is annually getting nearer
chronic dearth. One fact will prove the truth
of this warning : a third of France lies,
every year, fallowthat is, barrenfor want
of the system which, in England, by artificial
manures, sheep, and root crops, is doing
away with the fallow-system entirely.
Thousands of acres of good moorland in France
remain unreclaimed, because landlords and
tenants, alike heavily taxed, cannot wait three
years for profits.

France can never be safe while her rural
population lives, in a hot-bed system of
agriculture, from hand to mouth. For
progressive agriculture we must turn to the
English-speaking races, where the landin
spite of the trammels of lawyers, of which we
trust one day to get ridis exploited, to borrow
a French word, by the joint capital of
landlord and tenant (who are continually
stirring up one another to improvement), and
by the demand created by railroad communication
with cities unwalled, unpassported, and


YES, sir, I am a mute. My name is Songster,
Isaac Songster, at your service. Just ask about
me at Bangalore'sthey know me ; or try
Pawler's, or Diggins and Companysee what
they will say of me ! I have walked for
Diggins and Company this twenty years
back ; behind king, lords, and commonsyes,
sir, and behind the Great Duke, too, when he
went up to Saint Paul's. Bless you ! they all
come to us one day.

Well yes, sir ! we do meet some queer
things in our line. You should hear the
watchers, of a long night, sitting round the
firesome of their yarns would astonish you.
They've astonished me sometimes, and I've
seen a bit of life. You see, sir, the way of it
is this. When we come into a house we find
the family, as I may say, all of a heap with
grieving and sorrowing, so they take no heed
of us, and we come and go when we like, and
no questions asked ; that's the way, sir, we
get to many a secret ; why look at that
business of Mrs. Craven's, down at Red Grange
which I saw myself with my own eyeswhy,
that was as queer a bit of history as you'd
ask to see in print.

Thank you, sir, I shouldn't mindit is a
thirsty day, and it's dry work talking. You'd
like to hear about Mrs. Craven ? Very well,
sir, — it's not a long story either. Here's to
you, sir !

Let me see. I should say it was about
fifteen year agothough a year one way or
the other isn't much matter. I was with
Pawler thenI did not go to Diggins and
Company till the year afterand I recollect,
one evening about November, a message came
down to the yard that Songster was wanted
in the office. I went up at once, and found
everything in a stir, for a great order had
come ina heavy case at an old hall far off
in the countrya family vault business as we
would say.

"You will get all your staff together,"
Pawler said, "and have everything decent
and comfortable ; I have liberal instructions,
so we must do it handsomely, Songster
handsomely, mind you."

We had hard work all that day, cutting up
the linen and getting things ready ; we
were to start that night, and we found the
time short enough. About six o'clock that
evening, when everything was packed, and
Pawler was giving me his last instructions
(he was coming down himself later), a young
man came running into the officea fine
handsome young man, but with a face as
white as one of our linen scarfs. He was very
wild and staggering, so that, at first, I thought
he was disordered with drink ; but I soon
saw from the black band on his hat that he
must be a relation, a mourner, or a chief-
mourner most likely.

"Am I in time?" says the young man,
running up to Pawler.

Pawler started up.

"Good gracious, Mr. Craven, is that you ?
I thought you were in France."

"Am I in time ?" says the young man,
very fiercely. "Answer me !"

"Plenty," says Pawler, "they don't go this
hour. Sit down, sir, for God's sake !"

"Thank heaven!" says Mr. Craven; "I
have come night and day for this. Listen to
me, Pawler. I can depend on you."

"I hope so, sir." says Pawler; "I have
done business with your father and your
grandfather before him, and they were always
satisfied with me."

"I know that," says he ; "but what I want
done is this. I can't go down to the Grange