In the way our fathers trod”—that seems to be the proud boast of the English country towns, and I am not sure that it is not a worthy one, though its application to certain cases is certainly humorous. I remember revisiting a town where I had once lived, and getting into conversation with an elderly and well-to-do inhabitant. I mentioned having met in London a surgeon who had been born in and lived in the town. He certainly enjoyed the largest practice in London, and, in addition to the K.C.B., bore as many continental orders as permitted of his wearing (which he did) a very dingy dress-coat without its dinginess being perceptible. His reputation had, however, eluded the cognizance of his native town.

“What a fool he was to go off to London, when he might have done so well here,” was the comment of the elderly citizen upon my proud boast that I had met Sir William in London. “If he had only held on here he might by this time have got the best dispensary in the town.”

I did not doubt it.

He took the same view in regard to the career of another eminent townsman, who, I mentioned, had just been made an F.R.S.

“If he had been wise and carried on his father's business here he might have been a J.P. by now,” was his solemn comment.

I thought it better to refrain from any further remarks, lest I should be made to feel more acutely than I did all that I had forfeited by my premature departure from a town that offered such prizes for obscurity.

There are still a large number of country towns in England where the feeling still remains that any departure from their precincts is, if not absolutely fatal, at any rate risky. I have met people in more than one town who looked on a man's going to America as equivalent to absconding. I suppose most of these places have some foundation of their own for the tradition. It is quite plausible that, seventy or eighty or even a hundred years ago, some wild young men may have found a voyage to America to offer them a satisfactory alternative to an appearance behind the spikes of the dock of the County Court-House, and America got a bad name in consequence, being looked on as a continent peopled by men who had gone wrong at home. However this may be, I must confess that I was startled, when I first came to Thurswell and mentioned that I heard that a young man who had played a good deal of lawn-tennis during the summer was going to the States, by the inquiry—

“Why, what has he been doing anyway?”

It did not come from one of the rustic population, but from a tradesman in quite a good way of business—a considerable proportion of it in canned provisions into the bargain.

I believe that when Dr. Watson, the author of Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush, went on his first lecturing tour to America, the financial results of which were so satisfactory, an impression prevailed in certain directions that the act was unworthy of a clergyman of the Presbyterian Church, and he was made the object of a severe attack in some quarters.

One can easily appreciate the attitude of people who have lived all their lives in an English country town in regard to the restless members of a family. One has only to walk through a churchyard and read the names on the tombs to understand how deeply rooted in the soil are the people. So far as Thurs-well and Mallingham are concerned, a stroll through one of the churchyards is almost equivalent to studying a directory. The same names as are cut upon the tombs—some of them going back a hundred and fifty years—are to be seen over the shop windows to-day and on the dairy carts and the farm carts. In some cases the name of a yeoman ancestor reappears in a Grand Jury list, indicating a material advance in the social scale. The migration that has been going on in our county for the past two hundred years seems to be interparochial. Individuals moved from village to village and from village to town. It is only within the past twenty-five or thirty years that the ablest and the best have occasionally braved public opinion and set sail for a colony.

Even families that have “got on” seem to love to cling to the county which saw the very small beginnings of their ancestors. Why should they not? Love of one's county is only a subdivision of the grand virtue of love of one's country. It was only when a certain aged doctor, who had the family history of our neighbourhood at his fingers' ends for over sixty years, published a volume of interesting reminiscences, in the course of which he took occasion to refer to the very humble beginnings of some families that considered themselves very “swagger,” that we learned how tenaciously they had clung to their county. Even the slow-moving Mallingham is not without its romances of “getting on.” One of the most intrepid motorists in the borough is remembered by several middle-aged burgesses as the wearer of the green baize apron and the wielder of the broom of the caretaker and window-cleaner of a solicitor's office; and from what I know of him I am inclined to believe that that was the best kept office in the town when he had charge of it.

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