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instead of onethree warmths instead of one;
the best of the heat not going up the chimney,
and leaving behind only a poor residue of outer
blaze to scorch you.

Now, if this fireplace question were a mere
question of extra comfort, we would not lay so
great a stress upon it, though want of warmth
often drives a poor man to the public-house fire;
but there are other arguments against the
impoverished modern fireplace. Downshire is a
sheep county, and therefore a county of
shepherds. Watching sheep in a down-country,
and on cold spring nights, is no joke, when the
wind blows like thunder, and the rain drives
in one's face. Three drenchings in twelve hours
is no bad preparation for an old age of
rheumatismparticularly when your dress is chiefly
a worn and patched pair of trousers, and a
washed-out brown linen smock-frock. At
daybreak the shepherd off duty drags home to his
cottage to get a change of clothes, to warm his
half-frozen limbs, and to "get a bite" at a warm
breakfast. In the old snug chimney-corner,
with half the fire to himself, he soon dries his
smock, warms himself through, and is ready
for breakfast; but at the modern poor
half-starved grate, with the cooking going on in
competition, what chance has the poor drenched
soul of either heat or comfort?

To our mind, nothing is so cold and dismal as
your modem model labourers' cottages. They
are square boxes, monotonous and intolerable,
with no snug nooks, no little convenient bins, no
odd corners, cozy and handy. They are as dreary
as mathematical problems. They are comfortless.
They do very well in books and lithographs,
but they are not fit for humanity; they
are fit only for the demure smug dream-figure,
who has no human wants, no human passions,
no human failings, and who is so plastic in the
hands of some philanthropic theorists. They are
places invented for another kind of humanity:
not for the kind of humanity to which the reader
and the writer belong.

Yet while we praise the old stone cottage of
the Downshire Pinchbacks for many things, we
cannot but lament many of its internal arrangements.
It has but two bedrooms; and there are
four childrentwo girls, a boy, and a grown-
up son.

Every new cottage should contain three
bedrooms at least: one for the man and his wife,
one for the boys, and another for the girls. In
cases of illness, too, or infectious disease, the
want of such division has led to thousands of
deaths. The wretched drainage of the labourer's
house is too well known to need any additional
condemnation. Few cottages in Downshire
have sewers or cesspools. The chronic
rheumatism of the old labourer, the frequent low
fevers and contagious diseases of their children,
are referable, in great part, to this radical
defect. Illness with the poor man means bitter
poverty, scant wages, cruel dunning, and perhaps
the dreaded workhouse or starvation. It means
to the country increased poor-rates, more vicious
pauper children, and more hereditary beggars.

We know cottagesand belonging to rich
men, tooin Downshire, where, at certain
seasons, we have seen the woman of the house
dip down and fill her kettle from water welling
up close to the very fireplace; we have
seen, in a neighbouring house, a girl, dangerously
ill with rheumatic fever, lying on chairs,
the legs of which were half hidden in water.
Of the dunghills aud filthy ash-heaps that too
frequently defile and pollute the front of
cottages, we say little, because their removal
depends generally on the tidiness, energy, and
self-respect of the labourer; but the bad drainage,
that fruitful source of disease, is beyond
his power to remedy. Pinchback cannot afford
to buy drain-pipes, nor could he spare time to
put them down were he even to buy them. It
is the rich landlord's bounden duty to promote
the health and well-being of his tenants. It is
all but murder to get money by letting houses
that breed inevitable disease and death. Even
selfishness can suggest no reason for not
building healthier and better cottages for the
labourer. It has been proved, by the severest
statisticians, that to build labourers' cottages
is to invest money well, and to obtain a good
interest for it. Here, in Downshire, two good
stone cottages can be built for two hundred and
seventy pounds: though, of course, it is easy to
spend as much as three hundred pounds upon one.

The aim of many English squires now, is,
to reduce to the minimum the number of
cottages on an estate, for fear of that increase
of poor's-rate which only the criminal neglect
of our well-deserving aged poor in past times
can have produced. To let the cottages fall
and decay, or to pull them down, is now the
squire's ignoble ambition. During their period
of decay, the poor pine in them, rather than
move far from their work. We have known
poor men, who, being unable to get a house
in their native village, have had to walk every
day three or four miles to worka cruel
addition to a hard day's labour.

One of the chief causes, we believe, of the
present neglected state of the labourer's cottage is
the following: The labourer does not generally
rent his house direct from the landlord, but
through the farmer. Now, the two indigenous
plants of the English soil are the landlord and the
labourer. The farmer, too often, has little or no
affection for the children of the soil. He has not
always learnt their ways or their feelings. We
do not hold that all rich squires are too
considerate of the poor man's hardships; but still
they have often a respect for old and honest
servants, and a wish to retain them, and they
are for many reasons more likely than farmers
to listen to their just complaints.

The labourer's lot grows harder every year.
The cottages grow older and more unhealthy.
The commonstheir former playgrounds and
pasture-groundsget daily taken from them and
enclosed. The smallest and meanest plots are now
barred up by penalties; rabbits, though they
swarm by thousands, the labourer may not touch;
forest-wood he must no longer burn and use.