+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

the air! There was a shadowy figure bending
over me! I gave a wild gasping cry!
Help! And I felt a cold wet hand laid
upon my shoulder!

I recollect nothing more after that. That
night of horrors passed away, and morning
came at last. Whether I had had the nightmare
or not, the reader may be sure I did
not tarry for another night under the roof-
tree of the Silver Horn.



A FEW years ago, four Acts were passed,
each more mysterious than the other, for the
Enfranchisement of Copyholds. Theselike
many other products of the wisdom of
Parliamenthave been so hedged about with
difficulties and are so unintelligible, that no
good can come of them. We are still made
to bear with some of the quaint old absurdities
of mediæval times, and to hold our lands
by copy of court-roll; rendering homage to
the lord by service of render, user and prender;
paying a fine and a heriot on the death of
the lord of the manor, and the like on every
alienation; after the manner of our ancestors
centuries ago. In spite of the railways,
telegraphs, printing-presses, and of this very
periodical itself, we still cling in a few
districts to the quaint fashions of the middle
ages. We have so far improved certainly
that no agricultural Damon of the present
day can be robbed of his Phyllis by an
insatiate lord; nor can the whole of the tenants
be termed "villeins in gross," and be sold
bodily; but he may be robbed legally

Take heriots as an example. A heriot is
the best horned beast; and the lord is entitled
in the manors of which I speakto
one heriot for every tenement occupied by
the tenant either upon every conveyance
of the property (termed an alienation),
upon the death of the tenant, or upon the
death of the lord. I could quote an
instance of recent occurrence, where, upon
the death of a tenant who was in possession
of fourteen tenements, the lord seized
fourteen of the successor's best milch cows,
Nor did the matter end here. On the
occurrence of any of the events above mentioned,
the lord receives eight times the ancient
rent; and, as this rent amounts in most
instances to three or four pounds, it was found
that the heir to the unfortunate owner of the
fourteen tenements, would be required to pay
some four hundred and fifty pounds for rent:
and this after the disappearance of his milch

Then there is the attending the Lord's
Court, and doing homagenot exactly
"openly and humbly kneeling, being ungirt,
uncovered, and holding up the hands both
together between those of the lord, &c."—but
by wasting a long day at a dirty country
inn. There are, moreover the customs,
established by our ancestors and still daily
practised, of which I will mention only service
days. Besides money payments, the tenant is
obliged to give up mow-days, due-days, plough-
days, and catch-days; in virtue of which he is
required to mow the lord's land, reap it in
time of harvest, and carry the corn to the
nearest mill to grind, so many times a

I make no mention of the inconvenience to
land-owners who have a small plot of copyhold
property (as is often the case) intermixed
with their freehold, and which
necessarily increases the expense of transfer;
nor do I adduce one half of the evils
attendant upon copyhold tenure. I would
merely assume in conclusion, that if these
feudal customs were highly politic, and very
necessary (as they may have been) in the
stormy days of our ancestors when lord and
vassal were glad to band together for mutual
support, that now they can safely be
dispensed with; for, it is difficult to imagine Smith,
the lord of the manor of Clodhoppleswho
reads the Mark Lane Express, makes turnip
lanterns for the baby, and behaves in other
respects as a peaceable agriculturist
interrupted in there pursuits by the appearance
of Jones, the neighbouring lord of the manor
of Clodipole, at the head of his vassals, buff-
jerkins, hauberks, "et tout complet," the
said Jones bent upon a raid on the quiet
Smith's cattle, and the forcible abduction of
his cook.

Do not let us boast of our high state of
civilisation, until the best friends of the
British Constitution have successfully
abolished suit and service holdings, with many
more of its existing absurdities,


IT was a pouring wet morning in Milverston
one Friday in May last year, nevertheless
the whole town was astir and expectant.
Miss Prior had been planted at her window
for an hour, with her sharp eyes peering
down the High Street, that at the first hum
of "They are coming," she might be ready to
dart off to St. Mary's Church, to get a good
place to see the bride leave her carriage,
I myself had been conversing with the
pew-opener in the vestry, where the clerk was
growing momently more impatient. He
observed, with dignified indifference, that
they had married so many people in their
time, that he sees nothing in itbless him,
how it rains!

It did rain! Against the windows of the
old church it drove so noisily that it almost
drowned the stealthy voices of the whisperers
in the gallery and vestry; it poured in a
continuous stream from the spouts, and ran
in the streets almost like a flood. It had