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like a glorious curtain. The field of glory
that I had come out to see was not far from
the railway station. I saw the fluttering of
flags, and, turning into a lane called the New
Rope Walk, which the Corporation of Rye,
by placards, particularly requests that nobody
will injureI am sure I feel great pleasure
in making their wish publicI came to the
very spot which, like a loadstone mountain,
had exerted its influence on me, nailed to
London, and, drawing me with a strong
wrench from a bookshelf to which I have
there been habitually fastened, whisked me
away to Sussex. Only there was a ditch
of very muddy water which still parted
me from the spot to which I had been
flying. Being a bachelor of fifty, partial to
nankeen and wearing pumps in summer, it
may not be regarded as a weakness that I am
particular about my feet and legs. I could
not cross that ditch. It being obvious,
however, to my capacity, that the ladies, the true
bloom of Rye, who would be coming up that
rope-walk to get into that field, would not be
called upon to wade to the tents of glory
through that ditch, I made a narrow search
for means of passage, since no bridge was
readily to be discovered. While I was thus
engaged, a buxom damsel walked into the
ditch and over it, and displayed, as she
ascended on the opposite bank, a perfectly
unsullied pair of stockings. Pictures may wink
and images may walk, but a young woman of
her size, I thought, could not get over mud
or water without sinking.

I was right. A load or more of cut grass
had at one particular point been thrown into
the ditch; and, over thatas soldiers cross a
moat over the bodies of the slainwe were to
march to where the banners had been lifted.
They had been lifted in a large and pleasant
meadow, much shaded by clumps of old
trees. They consisted chiefly of union-jacks,
which had braved frequently the breeze, and
had been hung out often, I suppose, in dirty
weather. Within a space, parted from the
rest of the field by a light wall of fishing-nets,
rose a broad white hillock of tent completely
covered in, and completely covering in also
the vegetable portion of the exhibition. Of
the human portion, groups were scattered
about the field; but, as I had arrived upon the
spot when the day's sun had reached its
noon, and as the noon of triumph to the
horticulturist was not to blaze until two o'clock,
the groups were few, and the business transacted
by two merchants in ginger-beer,
gingerbread, and Brazil nuts, was not of a
kind likely to call for greatly increased
exportations from the Spice Islands, or to give
much impetus to the Brazilian trade.

Having seized the hand of the Rye
Cottagers' Society, that is to say, having seized
its secretary, I was introduced at once among
the mysteries within the tent. Remembering,
as I now do, how that tent appeared when it
was dressed for company at two o'clock, and
how elegant it was declared to be, I do not
know that it is requisite for me to betray the
secrets of the toilet, and to tell how it appeared
at half-past twelve, while the great business
of dressing was in progress.

I strolled away, to take a look at the town
of Ryeonce a sea-port; now, only a Cinque
Port. The sea in it is not very much seen,
because the harbour choked itself some years
ago, and is defunct. I believe there is a new
channel, and a way by which the tide can
come up to give the town a little daily kiss;
but it must be, I think, a very little kiss,
and no such hearty smack as the waves gave
to Rye, when, for example, Rye was the town
to throw nine ships at a time upon the ocean's
lap, as contributions to King Edward the
Third's equipment for a French invasion.
Even now, however, Rye must be a town of
enormous importance, for it has the privilege
of returning men to assist in holding the
canopy over sovereigns of Great Britain at
their coronation. And a town that is privileged
to throw a king into the shade should
be a town worth looking at. It is in a fertile
district; and its gardens have in them vigour
enough and its gardeners have in them wit
enough, to reproduce the biggest bomb-shells
in their pumpkins, to grow mock bullets of all
sizes in their peascods, and to shed the richest
blood from the black hearts of cherries. As
for vegetables, they are growing on the broad
marsh (waste as it looks), broken only by its
trenches. The shrewd people have drained it.
Leap the drains and you may gallop dry over
that marsh in winter-time. One would not
wish to live upon it though one may work
upon it, and I see no houses on its surface;
only one house in the distance, sacred to One
and visited of many, with a slender spire that
points from the reclaimed earth to heaven.

A quaint and pleasant old town, with true
life in its heart, I think to myself as I return
to the marquee. I pause before the door of
an old store-house, which, I am told, was once
upon a timebefore the wars with Francea
monastery of Augustine Friars. A half defaced
bill on the door, remaining from the last
election, calls upon the men of Rye not to be
trampled under foot, to rally round a tried
friend, to secure for Great Britain the glorious
triumph of a great principle, and remember
the mighty din of the tremendous battle in
the classic streets of their famous town when
the false traitor John Atrox would have led
them all into a pitfall. Rally, cried the old
monastery door to the electors, rally round
Free Trade!

"A band of music will be in attendance."
The bill which made this promise held out no
false baits; there is the band under a shady
treenine gloomy men who sit about a deal
table, and prepare at this moment to blow.
Blow, fiends, and crack your cheeks! "Let
fall your horrible pleasure." Ah, well,
well! not so unpleasant after all. Although,
outside my window in London where I

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