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At present there exists the objection that
such mufflers would cause very speedy and
uncomfortable death; whereas, in our
present warfare, they who fall, die comfortably
in their beds, and yet merit the fame of
having been slain like heroes in a war of
independence, after a long struggle against
the besieger of their hearths and homes.


IF you had known anything of Tom
Racketts, of Loggerhead College, Bullferry,
you would have thought him a dangerous
acquaintance, and an unlikely man to go into
the Church.  Tom could do everything that a
young man should not do, in order to get on
at the University, or in the world at large.
He never did any wilful harm, and was so
good-natured, that he never spent so much as
the double of his income; which, in a Loggerhead
man, showed a consideration for tradesmen
not often displayed. It is a pity that
Tom drove so well, and had friendships with
fighting men; for, he could not be a coachman
by profession, and was no real admirer of
brutality.  But, he liked to be thought a fast
man, though he was industrious enough to
make himself a tolerable scholar.

Some years ago, quitting the pleasures of
the University, I left Tom reading for the
Church, to betake myself to geometrical
instruments, Vitruvius, and working drawings.
Studying as an architect I went to
Italy.  Justified in raving about the wonders
of the Sistine Chapelarmed with leaning
towers, chess-boards in Sienna marble and
lapis lazuli, and pewter saintsin due time I
returned to England.

Of course it was some time before I had
bored the whole of my friends who had not
seen Italy, and, although the design for the
Tipplebarton charity schools was yet incomplete,
I one day, in search of a new listener,
set out by rail for the little village of Coddleton,
wherein my friend Tom now resides as

Tom, in a white tie, seemed to me a notion
as incongruous as Queen Elizabeth in a
Bloomer dress.  Perhaps he in his turn would
feel equally bewildered by the moustachios I
had brought from Italy. Certainly, I
determined, I would go and see.

I was dropped with a carpet-bag at the
pretty little gothic Vastbourne station, and,
as no train was to come up for some time, I
pressed a porter into the service and walked
along the line, which was a nearer way than
going by the road under the hill, which shaded
Coddleton from view.

Through five or six hundred yards of chalk
excavation, I at length reached an opening,
and had a prospect at command.  The day
was sunny, half-autumnal, and the distant
hillspiled up with foliage, but now and then
disclosing an odd patch of chalk, or houses
peeping from unlikely hiding-placesformed
a gay frame to the picture.  A water-mill
was mixing for itself an effervescing draught
on a grand scale, and a snug batch of farm-
houses in the foreground gave a wholesome
work-a-day effect to the whole scene.

On we went, with the hills looking down
upon us on both sides, as we performed our
matter-of-fact journey along rails and sleepers.
At length, a long pole marked the point of
our arrival at the little road which led from
the great trunk direct to my friend's village;
so I relieved the porter of my carpet-bag,
and left the great trunk to pursue its journey
to Carlisle or whither else it pleased.

Tom was from home, and, as the parish
comprehended a loose range of some four
miles in extent, it was of little use for me to
start out on a voyage of discovery.  I found
that the said Tom kept capital portera
remnant of Oxford partialities; and that he
even still preferred a tankard to a tumbler.
As I did not feel tired, I took some slight
refreshment, and went out to look at my
friend's parish and parishioners.

Tom's house was in a lane looking upon
the railway, and if you looked at its gabled
exterior, and the grotesque crossings of brown
beams upon the dun yellow plasterabove
all, if you looked at the pretty porch covered
with roses, at the little flower-garden in front,
and the more extensive array of vegetables
and fruit trees covering the slope behind and
at the side of it, you would have gone home
dreaming of wedding rings and evening walks.
Within, the well-filled book- cases, the slips of
paper strewed about on tables, chairs, and
floor, betrayed an unhusbandly devotion to
books.  Tom had evidently taken to reading.

I walked up the lane, and, passing a row of
houses similar to the one tenanted by Tom,
met with a few of his parishioners.  Healthy
children, clean or dirty, as the case might be,
were playing about with a perfect freedom
from the fear of being run over, which
children in towns ought to feel, but never do.
One party was diverting itself with a jackdaw.
The bird did not seem to fear the
children.  He ran along the road, ran under
their feet, suffered himself to be taken up by
one wing, or by both, by the neck, the legs, or
bodily, and seemed perfectly satisfied with
the behaviour of his friends.  Only he was not
a carriage bird; he would not suffer himself
to be drawn triumphantly in a half bottomless
frying-pan, and persisted in slipping out
of this extemporaneous vehicle.

Passing a barn decorated with the remains
of owls, kites, and other offenders who had
paid the extreme penalty of the law, and
wondering whether such a spectacle could
have as great an effect upon ornithological, as
public executions have upon human morality,
I came to a spot of singular beauty.  One
side of the road formed an abrupt foot-path,
shaded densely by tall ashes, winding round
the hill, while the other, taking an almost
equally abrupt declivity, disclosed a cluster of

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