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to work; and he comes home after dark, eats
his supper, and goes to bed. So passes his life

Could he plead his own cause, as great men
have pleaded well that of the Russian serf and the
American slave, he would give you a homely but
touching narrative of much suffering and much
toil. Long stormy February nights spent in
watching the sheep at the lambing time; long
painful days devoted to thrashing, when his
back has been racked with rheumatism; long
days of damp ploughing; long seasons of sickness,
when it has been hard to keep body and
soul together, with a wife and four children to
feed and clothe in times of no work; a life dull
and uneventful, yet not without its heroic
moments, its passionate sorrows, its communings
with God, its strong resolves, its bright hopes
and simple joys.

Pinchback's is a life, surely, that needs some
domestic solaces to soothe its monotony, to
charm away its vexations, and to diminish its
temptations. The wife and children may do
much to render this hard life bearable; but,
above all, his home, the house itself, ought to be
habitable and comfortable; it ought to be large
enough, it ought to be dry and warm enough, it
ought to be well drained, it ought to be healthy,
and it ought to spare the much-worked man, by
being near his work.

Luckily for Pinchback, he lives in a stone
countya county where stone is cheap, because
it is abundant and accessible. He lives, so far,
like a nobleman in comparison with mechanics
possessing twice his income, who are penned-up
near London in rows of flimsy brick houses,
without air, drainage, warmth, dryness, or
comfort. It is a sturdy cottage, built of stout blocks
of grey stone, and standing square and steadfast,
braving all the winds, blow they ever so
madly. It is a grave self-respecting grey
mottled house; it would be a yeoman's house in a
brick or flint county, like Surrey or Kent; but
here it is merely the house of a poor farm
labourer, earning his poor eight shillings a week,
the ordinary wages in Downshire. Pinchback
pays but one shilling a week for this stone
castle; and difficult enough sometimes, he finds
it to pick up that same shilling, poor fellow!

It is a little Tudor cottageno box of stucco
a building, simple though it is, of a marked
period and style. It has a good sheltering
porch; it has four stone-shafted windows, the
mullions firm and massy, and the diamond panes
leaded in the old-fashioned way. True, the
mullions bar out a little of the light, but then
there is quite enough of it without, and the
door is, moreover, left open on all fine days.
There is reason, too, even in the lattice panes,
for they take very little glass, can be easily
mended with any spare scraps, and do not often
need the village glazier.

The roof is thatcheddangerous for fire, but
otherwise picturesque and cheap, warm, dry, and
lasting. A handful of straw repairs it when it
needs repair; and, what is better, Pinchback
himself can mend it in a spare hour.

That the little square of garden for which our
man pays sixpence a week additional rent is not
pleasanter to the eye and more useful, is Pinchback's
own fault. It certainly boasts a pale China
rose or two in the autumn, a bunch of cockaded
hollyhocks in the summer, and a tuft of snowdrops
in the spring. But its chief staple is a
clump of lank green cabbage-stalks, as much cut
and notched and crossed about, as if Pinchback
used them for almanacks, as Robinson
Crusoe did his post. Perhaps it is difficult
to cultivate a very fine sense of the beautiful,
on eight shillings a week.

Let us enter at the unpainted door, lifting
up the loose trigger-latch with a click. The
well-smoked roof is too low for sound ventilation;
it gives us warmth, but we want air;
that is the first thing that strikes us. The
furniture is simple enough*—a stool, two or
three rude wooden chairsnot so sound as they
might be about the legstwo or three shelves for
plates and mugs, a dresser, a cracked table, and
a small looking-glass with half the quicksilver
gone, is all we see. A bench fastened round
the wall would be an excellent thing where room
is scanty and furniture is too dear to buy; it
would do for the children, and at cleaning times
it would be useful for jugs and pans.
* Cheap strong furniture ought to be made in
larger quantities for the poor. The writer has known
a widow and her children, for sheer want of any other
place, dine off the coffin of the dead fathera
horrible and revolting sight.

But we forgot the fine arts, the genuine old
masters that adorn Pinchback's house. There
is a portrait, highly coloured, of that worthy
monarch King George the Fourth, who was
certainly not so black as he is here painted. There
is a picture of the Prodigal Son driving a
curricle, and also a fancy sketch of Turpin's
flight over a turnpike gate after he has shot
Tom King. Above the mantelpiece, very brown
with smoke, is a curious early religious picture
subject unknown, probably never known
supposed to be by one of those very early Italian
painters whose works the National Gallery
is becoming so "rich in." On nails over the
fireplace there repose an old ship musket and
a boxwood fluteplayed to very melancholy
tunes thirty years ago, when Pinchback went
"a courting," and was in rather a depressed
state of mind concerning Sally Wilton, who
afterwards jilted him and married a baker. In
a corner of the room rest an earthy spade, a
hoe, and a pickaxe, all shiny about the metal
tips. These implements constitute what may
be called, perhaps, Mr. Pinchback's family plate.

The fireplace is old-fashioneda cave, in
fact, built in with projecting walls, and forming
a sort of heat-trap, or half-open oven in
itself. The fire is on the hearth, and on a level
with the walls of the room; and, on each side
of it, there is ample and snug room for two or
three cold or wet people, seeking warmth and
comfort. It has not only the enormous advantage
of affording two shut-in nooks, free from all
draughts, but it gives you three sides of a fire