I reached Saffron Walden at 4 p.m., notwithstanding my involuntary walk of six extra miles in the morning.  Here I remained over the Sabbath, again enjoying the hospitality of a Friend.  And perhaps I may say it here and now with as much propriety as at any other time and place, that few persons, outside the pale of that society, have more frequently or fully enjoyed that hospitality than myself.  This pleasant experience has covered the space of more than sixteen years.  During this period, with the exception of short intervals, I have been occupied with movements which the Friends in England have always regarded with especial sympathy.  This connection has brought me into acquaintance with members of the society in almost every town in Great Britain in which they reside; and in more than a hundred of their homes I have been received as a guest with a kindness which will make to my life's end one of its sunniest memories.

On the following Monday, I resumed my walk northward, after a carriage ride which a Friend kindly gave me for a few miles on the way.  Passed through a pre-eminently grain-producing district.  Apparently full three-fourths of the land were covered with wheat, barley, oats, and beans.  The fields of each were larger than I had noticed before; some containing 100 acres.  The coming harvest is putting forth the full glory of its golden promise.  The weather is all a farmer could wish, beautiful, warm, and bright.  Nature, in every feature of its various scapes, seems to smile with the joy of that human happiness which her ministries inspire.  Here, in these still expanses, waving with luxuriant crops, apparently so thinly peopled, one, forgetting the immense populations crowded into city spaces, is almost tempted to ask, where are all the mouths to eat this wide sea of food for man and beast, softening so gently into a yellow sheen under the very rim of the distant horizon?  But, in the great heart of London, beating with the wants of millions, he will be likely to reverse the question, and ask, where can one buy bread wherewith to feed this great multitude?

At Sawston, a rustic little village on the southern border of Cambridgeshire, I entered upon the enjoyment of English country-inn life with that relish which no one born in a foreign land can so fully feel as an American.  As one looks upon the living face of some distinguished celebrity for the first time, after having had his portrait hung up in the parlor for twenty years, so an American looks, for the first time, at that great and picturesque speciality among human institutions, the village inn of old England.  The like of it he never saw in his own country and never will.  In fact, he would not like to see it there, plucked up out of its ancient histories and associations.  In the ever-green foliage of these it stands inwoven, as with its own network of ivy.  Other countries, even older than England, have had their taverns from time immemorial; but they are all kept in the background of human life.  They do not come out in contemporaneous history with any definiteness; not even accidentally.  If a king is murdered in one of them, or if it is the theatre of the most thrilling romance of love, you do not know whether it is a building of stone, brick, or wood; whether it is one, two, or three stories in height.  No outlines nor aspects are given you to help to fill up a rational picture of it.  Neither the landlord nor the landlady is drawn as a representative man or woman.  Either might be mistaken for a guest in their own house, if seen in hat or bonnet by a stranger.

But not so of the English country inn.  It comes out into the foreground of a thousand interesting histories and pictures of common life.  In them it has an individuality as marked as the parish church, couchantein its wide-rimmed nest of grave stones; as marked in unique architecture, location, and surroundings.  In none of these features will you find two alike, if you travel from one end of the country to the other; especially among those a century old.  You might as well mistake one of the living animals for the other, as to mistake "The Blue Boar" for "The Red Lion."  They differ as much from each other in general make and aspect as do their nominal prototypes.  To give every one of their thousands "a local habitation and a name" of striking distinctness, has required an ingenuity which has produced many interesting feats of house-building and nomenclature.  Both these departments of genius figure largely in the poetry and classics of the institution, with which the reading million of America have been familiar from youth up.  And when any of them come to travel in England, it will greatly enhance their enjoyment to find that the pictures they have admired and the descriptions they have read of the famous country inn have been true to the very life and letter.  All its salient features they recognise at once, and are ready to exclaim, "How natural!" meaning by that, how true is the original to the picture which they have seen so frequently.  If they go far enough, they will find the very original of every one of the hundred pictures they have seen, painted by pen or pencil.  They will find that all of them have been true copies from nature.  Here is the portly-looking, well-to-do, two-story tavern, standing out with its comfortable, cream-colored face broadside to the street.  It is represented in the old engraving with a coach-and-four drawn up before the door, surrounded by a crowd of spectators and passengers, some descending and ascending on ladders over the forward wheels; some looking with admiration at the scarlet coats of the pursy and consequential driver and guard; some exchanging greetings, others farewell salutations; ostlers in long waistcoats, plush or fustian shorts, and yellow leggings, standing bareheaded with watering-pails at the "'osses' 'eads;" trunks great and small going up and down; village boys in high excitement; village grandfathers looking very animated; the landlord, burly, bland, and happy, with a face as rotund and genial as the full moon shining upon the scene; and those round, rosy, sunny, laughing faces peering out of the windows with delightful wonderment and exhilaration, winked at by the driver, and saluted with a graceful motion of his whip-handle in recognition of the barmaid, chambermaid, and all the other maids of the house.  The coach, with all its picturesque appointments, its four-in-hand, the stirring heraldry of its horn coming down the road, its rattling wheels, the life and stir aroused and moved in its wake, - all this has gone from the presence of a higher civilisation.  It will never re-appear in future pictures of actual life in England.  It is all gone where the hedges and hedge-row trees will probably go in their turn.  But the same village inn remains, and can be as easily recognised as a widow in weeds, who still wears a hopeful face, and makes the best of her bereavement.

But that humbler type of hostelry so often represented in sketches of English rural life and scenery - the little, cozy, one-story, wayside, or hamlet inn, with its thatched roof, checker-work window, low door, and with a loaded hay-cart standing in front of it, while the driver, in his round, wool hat, and in his smock-frock, is drinking at a pewter mug of beer, with one hand on his horse's neck - this the hand of modern improvements has not yet reached.  This may be found still in a thousand villages and hamlets, surrounded with all its rural associations; the green, the geese, and gray donkeys feeding side by side; low-jointed cottages, with long, sloping roofs greened over with moss or grass, and other objects usually shadowed dimly in the background of the picture.  It is these quiet hamlets and houses in the still depths of the country, away from the noise and bluster of railway life and motion, that best represent and perpetuate the primeval characteristics of a nation.  These the American traveller will find invested with all the old charm with which his fancy clothed them.  It will well repay him for a month's walk to see and enjoy them thoroughly.

In these days of sun-literature, whose letters are human faces, and whose new volumes are numbered by the million yearly, without a duplicate to one of them, I am confident that a volume of these English village inns of the olden school, in photographs, would command a large sale and admiration in America, merely as specimens of unique and interesting architecture.  A thousand might be taken, every one as unlike the other in distinctive form and feature, as every one of the same number of men would be to the other.

The diversification of names, being more difficult, is still more remarkable.  Although the spread eagle figures largely as the patron genius of American hotels, still nine-tenths of them bear the names of states, counties, towns, or national or local celebrities.  But here natural history comes out strong and wide.  The heraldry of sovereigns, aristocracy, gentry, commercial and industrial interests, puts up its variousarms upon hundreds of inns in town and country.  All occupations and recreations are well represented.  Thus no country in the world approaches England in the wide scope and play of hotel nomenclature.  Some of the combinations are exceedingly unique and most interesting in their incongruity.  Dickens has not exaggerated this characteristic; not even done it justice in his hotel scenes.  Things are put together on a hundred tavern signs that were never joined before in the natural or moral world, and put together frequently in most grotesque association.  For instance, there is a large, first-class inn right in the very heart of London, which has for a sign, not painted on a board, but let into the wall of the upper story, in solid statuary, a huge human mouth opened to its utmost capacity, and a bull, round and plump, standing stoutly on its four legs between the two distended jaws.  Now, the leading idea of this device is involved in a tempting obscurity, which leads one, at first sight, into different lines of conjecture.  What did the designer of this group of statuary really intend to represent?  Was it to let the outside world know that, in that inn, the "Roast Beef of Old England" was always to be found par excellence?  If so, would a man's mouth swallowing a bull whole, and apparently alive, with hide and horns, tend to stimulate the appetite of a passing traveller, and to draw him into the establishment?  But leaving these ambiguous symbols to be interpreted by the passing public according to different perceptions of their meaning, how many in a thousand would guess aright the name given to the tavern by these tokens?  Would not ninety-nine in a hundred say, "The Mouth and Bull," to be sure, not only on the principle that the major includes the minor, but also because the human element is entitled to precedence in the picture?  But the ninety-nine would be completely mistaken, if they adopted this natural conclusion.  They would find they had counted without their host, who knows better than they the relative position and value of things.  What has the law of logic to do with fat beef?  The name of his famous hotel is "THE BULL AND MOUTH;" and few in London have attained to its celebrity as a historical building.  One is apt to wonder if this precedence given to the beast is really incidental, or adopted to give euphony to the name of an inn, or whether there is a latent and spontaneous leaning to such a method of association, from some cause or other connected with perceptions of personal comfort afforded at such establishments.  Accidental or intentional, this form of association is very common.  There is no tavern in London better known thanThe Elephant and Castle, a designation that would sound equally well if the two substantives were transposed.  Even the loftiest symbols of sovereignty often occupy the secondary place in these compound titles.  There are, doubtless, a hundred inns in Great Britain bearing the name of The Rose and Crown, but not one, to my knowledge, called "The Crown and Rose."  The same order obtains in sporting sections and terminology.  It is always "The Hare and Hounds;" never "Hounds and Hare."

This characteristic in itself is very interesting, and no American, with an eye to the unique, would like to see it changed.  But if the more syntax of hotel names in England is so pleasant for him to study, how much more admirable is their variety!  He has read at home of many of them in lively romance and grave history but he finds here that not half has been told him.  He is familiar with the Lions, Red, White, and Black; the Bulls and Boars of the same colors; the Black and White Swans and Harts; the Crown and Anchor, the Royal George, Queen's Head, and a few others of similar designation.  These names have figured in volumes of English literature which he has perused.  But let him travel on the turnpike road through country towns and villages, and he will meet with names he never thought of before, mounted over the doors of some of the most comfortable and delightful houses of entertainment for man and beast that can be found in the world.  Here are a few that I have noticed: "The Three Jolly Butchers," "The Old Mash Tub," "The Old Mermaid," "The Old Malt Shovel," "The Chequers," "The Dog-in-Doublet," "Bishop Boniface," "The Spotted Cow," "The Green Dragon," "The Three Horseshoes," "The Bird-in-Hand," "The Spare Rib," "The Old Cock," "Pop goes the Weasel."  There are wide spaces between these names which may be filled up from actual life with numbers of equal uniqueness.  But it is not in architecture nor in name that the country inn presents its most attractive characteristic.  These features merely specialise its outward corporeity.  The living, brightening, all-pervading soul of the establishment is the LANDLADY.  Let her name be written in capitals evermore.  There is nothing so naturally, speakingly, and gloriously English in the wide world as she.  It is doubtful if the nation is aware of this, but it is the fact.  Her English individuality stands out embonpoint, rosy, genial, self-complacent, calm, serene, happyfying, and happy.  She is the man and master of the house.  She permeates it with her rayful presence, and fills it with a pleasant morning in foggy and blue-spirited days.  She it is who greets the coming and speeds the parting guest with a grace which suns, with equal light and warmth, both remembrance and anticipation.  It is not put on like a Sunday dress; it is not a thin gloss of French politeness that a feather, blown the wrong way, will brush off.  It is not a color; it is a quality.  You see it breathe and move in her like a nature, not as an art.  Let no American traveller fancy he has seen England if he has not seen the Landlady of the village inn.  If he has to miss one, he had better give up his visit to the Crystal Palace, Stratford-upon-Avon, Abbottsford, or even the House of Lords, or Windsor itself.  Neither is so perfectly and exclusively English as the mistress of "The Brindled Cow," in one of the rural counties of the kingdom.

It would be necessary to coin a new word if one were sought to contain and convey the distinctive characteristic of inn-life in England.  Perhaps homefulness would do this best, as it would more fully than any other term describe the coziness, quiet, and comfort to be enjoyed at these places of entertainment.  Not one in a hundred of them ever heard the sound of the hotel-going bell, as we hear it in America.  You are not thundered up or down by a vociferous gong.  Then there is no marching nor counter-marching of a long line of waiters in white jackets around the dinner table, laying down plate, knife, fork, and spoon with uniform step and motion, as if going through a dress-parade or a military drill.  There is no bustle, no noise, no eager nor anxious look of served or servants.  Every one is calm, collected, and comfortable.  "The cares that infest the day" do not ride into the presence of that roast beef and plum pudding on the wrinkles of any man's forehead, however business affairs may go with him outside.  No one is in a hurry to sit down or to arise from the table.  The whole economy of the establishment is to make you as much at home as possible; to individualise you, as far as it can be done, in every department of personal comfort.  You follow your own time and inclination, and eat and drink when and how you please, with others or alone.  The congregate system is the exception, not the rule.  It seldom ever obtains at breakfast or tea.  In many cases you have a little round table all to yourself at these meals.  But if there is a common table for half a dozen persons, the tea and toast and other eatables are never aggregated into a common stock.  Each person if he is a single guest, has his own allotment, even to a separate tea-pot.  The table d'hote, if there be one at all, is made up like a select dinner party, rather early in the morning.  If the guests of the house are not directly invited, they are asked, in a tone of hospitality, if they will join in the social meal, the only one got up by the establishment at which the table is not mapped out in separate holdings, or little independencies of dishes, each bounded by the wants and capacities of the individual occupant.

The presiding and working faculty of a common English inn distinguishes it by another salient characteristic from the hotels of other countries.  The landlady is, of course, the president of the establishment, whether or not she calls any man lord in the retired and family department of the house.  But the actual gerantes, or working corps, with which you have to do immediately, are three independent and distinct personages, called the waiter, chambermaid, and boots.  If it were respectful to gender, these might be called the great triumvirate of the English inn.  No traveller after a night's lodging and breakfast, will mistake or confound the prerogatives or perquisites of these officials.  If he is an American, and it be his first experience of the regime, he will be surprised and puzzled at the imperium in imperio which his bill, presented to him on a tea-tray, seems to represent.  In no other business transaction of his life did he ever see the like.  It goes far beyond anything in the line of limited partnership he ever saw.  There is only one partial parallel that approaches it; and this comes to his mind as he reads the several items on his bill.  When made out and interpreted, it comes to this: the proprietor, the waiter, chambermaid, and boots are independent parties, who get up a night's lodging and two or three meals for you on the same footing as four independent underwriters would take proportionate risks at Lloyd's in some ship at sea.  Or, what would put it in simpler form to an uninitiated guest, he is apparently first charged for the raw provisions he consumes, and for the rent of his bed-room.  This is the proprietor's share.  Then, there is a separate charge for each of the remaining items of the entertainment, - for cooking and serving up each meal, for making up your bed, and for blacking your boots; just as distinctly as if you had gone out into the town the previous evening and hired three separate individuals to perform these services for you; and as if you had no right nor reason to expect from the landlord a dinner all cooked and served, but that you only bought it in the larder.

Now, this is a peculiarity of the English hotel system that is apt to embarrass travellers from other countries, especially from America, where no such custom could be introduced.  I do not know how old the custom is in Great Britain.  Doubtless it originated in the almost universal disposition and habit of Englishmen of dropping gratuities or charity-gifts here and there with liberal hand, either to obtain or reward extra service in matters of personal comfort, or to alleviate some case of actual or stimulated suffering that meets them.  It was natural and inevitable that gratuities thus given to hotel servants frequently to stimulate and reward special attention should soon become a rule, acting upon guests like a law of honor.  When so many gave, and when the servants of every hotel expected a gift, a man must feel shabby to go away without dropping a few pennies into the hands of eager expectants who almost claimed the gratuity as a right.  The worst stage of the system was when the expected gift was measured by your supposed position and ability, or when the waiter or the chambermaid, flattering you with what Falstaff would call an instinctive perception of your dignity, would say with an asking and hopeful smile, "What you please, sir."  Now, that was not the question with you at all.  You wanted to know how much each expected, or how much you must give to acquit yourself of the charge of being "a screw," when they put their heads and gains together in conference and comparison after you were gone.  So, on the whole, it was a great relief when all these awkward uncertainties of expectation were cleared up and rectified in the system now usually adopted.

Whether you be rich or poor, or whatever position or pretension be attributed to you, the fees of the universal triumvirate are put down specifically in black and white among the other charges on your bill.  As I hope these notes may convey some useful information to Americans who may be about to visit England for the first time, it may be of some use to them to state what is the usual rule in this matter at the middle-class hotels in this country; for with those of the first rank I never have made nor ever expect to make any personal acquaintance.  A moderate bill for a day's entertainment will read thus: -

Tea (bread and butter or toast)                      1 0
Bed                                                  1 6
Breakfast (rasher of bacon, eggs, or cold meats)    1 6
Dinner                                              2 6
Waiter                                              0 9
Chambermaid                                          0 6
Boots                                                0 3
                                                      - -
                                        Total        8 0

These are about the average charges at the middle-class hotels in Great Britain.  Generally the servants' fees amount to 25 per cent. of the whole bill.  These, too, are graduated to parts of days.  The waiter expects 3d. for every meal he serves; the chambermaid 6d. for every bed she makes, and the boots 3d. for doing every pair of boots, brogans, or shoes.  You will pay these charges with all the better grace and good-will to these servants when you come to learn that these fees frequently, if not always, constitute all the salary they receive for hotel service.  Even in a great number of eating-shops the same rule obtains.  The penny you give the waiter, male or female, is all he or she gets for serving you.  Besides this consideration, you get back much additional personal comfort from these extras.  The waiter serves you with extra satisfaction and assiduity under their stimulus.  He acts the host very blandly.  He answers a hundred questions, extraneous to the meal, with good-natured readiness.  He is a good judge of the weather and its signs.  He is well "posted-up" in the local histories and sceneries of the place.  He can give political information on both sides, incidents and anecdotes to match, whether you are Tory, Whig, or Radical.  If you have a bias in that direction, he has or has heard some thoughts on Bishop Colenso and the Tractarians.  In short, he caters to the humour and disposition of every guest with a happy facility of adaptation; and the shilling you give him at the end of a day's entertainment has been pretty well earned, if you have availed yourself of all these extra attentions which he is prepared and expecting to give for it.

The same may be said of the chambermaid.  She is not the taciturn invisible that steals in and out of your bed-room, and does it up when you are at breakfast or at your out-door business - whom you never see, except by sheer accident, as in the American hotel.  She is an important and prominent personage in the English inn.  She is a kind of mistress of the robes, and exercises her prerogative with much conscious dignity and self-satisfaction; and, what is better, with great satisfaction to yourself.  No other subordinate official or servant trenches or poaches upon her preserves.  She it is who precedes you up stairs with a candle, on a broad-bottomed brass candlestick, polished to its highest lustre.  She conducts you to your room as if you were her personal guest, invited and expected a month ago.  She opens the door with amiable complacency, as if welcoming you to a hospitality which she had prepared for you with especial care, before she knew you had arrived in town.  She invites you, by a movement of her eyes, to glance at the room and see how comfortable it is; how round and soft is the bed, how white and well-aired are the sheets and pillows, how nice the curtains, how clean and tidy the carpet, in short, how everything is fitted to incline you to "rest and be thankful."  And then the cheery "good night!" she bids you is said with a tone that is worth the sixpence she expects in the morning; and you pay it, too, with a much better grace than could be expected from an American recently arrived in the country.

And the "boots" is a character, too, unmixedly and interestingly English, in name, person, appearance, and position.  In the first of these qualities he is unique, being called after the subject of his occupation.  He is an important personage, and generally has his own bell in the dining-room, surmounted by his name, to be called for any service coming within his department.  And this is quite a wide one, including a great variety of errandry and porterage, as well as polishing boots and shoes.  He is very helpful in a great many different ways, and often very intelligent, and knows all about the streets, the railway trains, the omnibuses, cabs, etc., and will assist you in such matters with good grace and activity.  He may have got in the way of putting the H before the eggs instead of the ham; but he is just as good for all that, and more interesting besides.  So you do not grudge the 3d. you give him daily for his strictly professional services, or the extra 6d. he expects for carrying your carpet-bag or portmanteau to the railway-station.

Thus, although this feeing of servants may seem at first strange to an American traveller in England, and may occasion him some perplexity and even annoyance, he will soon become accustomed to it; and in making up the balance-sheet of the additional cost on one side and the additional comfort on the other which the system produces, he will come even to the mathematical conclusion, "if to equals you add equals, the sums will be equals."