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I.
PICKING UP SOOT AND CINDERS.

"AND why Tom Tiddler's ground?" asked
the Traveller.

"Because he scatters halfpence to Tramps
and such-like," returned the Landlord," and of
course they pick 'em up. And this being
done on his own land (which it is his own land, you
observe, and were his family's before him), why it
is but regarding the halfpence as gold and silver,
and turning the ownership of the property a bit
round your finger, and there you have the name
of the children's game complete. And it's
appropriate too," said the Landlord, with his favourite
action of stooping a little, to look across the table
out of window at vacancy, under the window-
blind which was half drawn down. "Leastwise
it has been so considered by many gentlemen
which have partook of chops and tea in the
present humble parlour."

The traveller was partaking of chops and tea
in the present humble parlour, and the
Landlord's shot was fired obliquely at him.

"And you call him a Hermit?" said the
Traveller.

"They call him such," returned the Landlord,
evading personal responsibility; "he is in
general so considered."

"What is a Hermit?" asked the Traveller.

"What is it?" repeated the Landlord, drawing
his hand across his chin.

"Yes, what is it?"

The Landlord stooped again, to get a more
comprehensive view of vacancy under the window-
blind, andwith an asphyxiated appearance on
him as one unaccustomed to definitionmade no
answer.

"I'll tell you what I suppose it to be," said the
Traveller. "An abominably dirty thing."

"Mr. Mopes is dirty, it cannot be denied,"
said the Landlord.

"Intolerably conceited."

"Mr. Mopes is vain of the life he leads,
some do say," replied the Landlord, as another
concession.

"A slothful unsavoury nasty reversal of the
laws of human nature," said the Traveller;
"and for the sake of GOD'S working world and
its wholesomeness, both moral and physical, I
would put the thing on the treadmill (if I had
my way) wherever I found it; whether on a
pillar, or in a hole; whether on Tom Tiddler's
ground, or the Pope of Rome's ground, or a
Hindoo fakeer's ground, or any other ground."

"I don't know about putting Mr. Mopes on
the treadmill," said the Landlord, shaking his
head very seriously. "There ain't a doubt but
what he has got landed property."

"How far may it be to this said Tom
Tiddler's ground?" asked the Traveller.

"Put it at five mile," returned the Landlord.

"Well! When I have done my breakfast,"
said the Traveller, "I'll go there. I came over
here this morning, to find it out and see it."

"Many does," observed the Landlord.

The conversation passed, in the Midsummer
weather of no remote year of grace, down
among the pleasant dales and trout-streams of
a green English county. No matter what county.
Enough that you may hunt there, shoot there,
fish there, traverse long grass-grown Roman
roads there, open ancient barrows there, see
many a square mile of richly cultivated land
there, and hold Arcadian talk with a bold
peasantry, their country's pride, who will tell
you (if you want to know) how pastoral house-
keeping is done on nine shillings a week.

Mr. Traveller sat at his breakfast in the little
sanded parlour of the Peal of Bells village ale-
house, with the dew and dust of an early walk
upon his shoesan early walk by road and
meadow and coppice, that had sprinkled him
bountifully with little blades of grass, and scraps
of new hay, and with leaves both young and
old, and with other such fragrant tokens of the
freshness and wealth of summer. The window
through which the landlord had concentrated
his gaze upon vacancy, was shaded, because the
morning sun was hot and right on the village
street. The village street was like most other
village streets: wide for its height, silent for

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