After a little more than a week's visit in St. Ives and neighboring villages, I again resumed my staff and set out in a westerly direction, in order to avoid the flat country which lay immediately northward for a hundred miles and more.  Followed the north bank of the Ouse to Huntingdon.  On the way, I stopped and dined with a gentleman in Houghton whose hospitality and good works are well known to many Americans.  The locality mentioned is so identified with his name, that they will understand whom I mean.  There was a good and tender-hearted man who lived in our Boston, called Deacon Grant; and I hope he is living still.  He was so kind to everybody in trouble, and everybody in trouble went to him so spontaneously for sympathy and relief, that no one ever thought of him as belonging to a single religious congregation, but regarded him as Deacon of the whole of Boston - a kind of universal father, whose only children were the orphans and the poor men's sons and daughters of the city.  The Miller of Houghton, as some of my readers will know, is just such another man, with one slight difference, which is to his advantage, as a gift of grace.  He has all of Deacon Grant's self-diffusing life of love for his kind, generous and tender dispositions towards the poor and needy, and more than the Deacon's means of doing good; and, with all this, the indomitable energy and will and even the look of Cromwell.  During my stay in the neighborhood, I was present at two large gatherings at his House of Canvas, with which he supplements his family mansion when the latter lacks the capacity of his heart in the way of accommodation.  This tent, which he erects on his lawn, will hold a large congregation; and, on both the occasions to which I refer, was well filled with men, women, and children from afar and near.  The first was a re-union of the Sunday-school teachers and pupils of the county, to whom he gave a sumptuous dinner; after which followed addresses and some business transactions of the association.  The second was the examination of the British School of the village, founded and supported, I believe, by himself.  At the conclusion of the exercises, which were exceedingly interesting, the whole company, young and old, adjourned to the lawn, where the visitors and elder people of the place were served with tea and coffee under the tent.

Then came "The Children's Hour."  They were called in from their games and romping on the lawn, and formed into a circle fifty feet in diameter.  And here and now commenced an entertainment which would make a more interesting picture than the old Apsley House Dinner.  The good deacon of the county, with several assistants, entered this charmed circle of boys and girls, all with eyes dilated and eager with expectation, and overlooked by a circular wall of elder people radiant with the spirit of the moment.  The host, in his white hat and grey beard, led the way with a basket on his arm, filled with little cakes, called with us gingernuts.  He was followed by a file of other men with baskets of nuts, apples, etc.  It was a most hilarious scene, exhilarating to all the senses to look upon, either for young or old.  He walked around the ring with a grand, Cromwellian step, sowing a pattering rain of the little cakes on the clean-shaven lawn, as a farmer would sow wheat in his field, broadcast, in liberal handfuls.  Then followed in their order the nut-sowers, apple-sowers, and the sowers of other goodies.  When the baskets were emptied, the circular space enclosed was covered with as tempting a spread of dainties as ever fascinated the eyes of a crowd of little people.  For a whole minute, longer than a full hour of ordinary schoolboy enjoyments, they had to stand facing that sight, involuntarily attitudinising for the plunge.  At the end of that long minute, the signal sounded, and, in an instant, there was a scene in the ring that would have made the soberest octogenarian shake his sides with the laughter of his youth.  The encircling multitude of youngsters darted upon the thickly-scattered delicacies like a flock of birds upon a field of grain, with patter, twitter and flutter, and a tremor and treble of little short laughs; small, eager hands trying in vain to shut fast upon a large apple and several ginger-nuts at one grasp; slippings and trippings, tousling of tresses and crushing of dresses; boys and girls higgledy-piggledy; caps and bonnets piggledy-higgledy; little, red-faced Alexanders looking half sad, because they had filled their small pocket-worlds and both hands with apples and nuts, and had no room nor holding for more; little girls, with broken bonnet-strings, and long, sunny hair dancing over their eyes, stretching their short fingers to grasp another goodie, - all this, with the merry excitement of fathers and mothers, elder brothers and sisters, and other spectators, made it a scene of youthful life and delight which would test the genius of the best painters of the age to delineate.  And Sir Roger Coverley Cromwell, the author of all this entertainment, would make a capital figure in the group, taken just as he looked at that moment, with his face illuminated with the upshooting joy of his heart, like the clear, frosty sky of winter with the glow and the flush of the Northern Lights.

The good Miller of Houghton, having added stone to stone until his mills can grind all the wheat the largest county can grow, has recently handed over to his sons the great business he had built up to such magnitude, and retired, if possible, to a more active life of benevolence.  One of his late benefactions was a gift of £3,000, or nearly $15,000, toward the erection of an Independent Chapel in St. Ives.

At Huntingdon, I took tea and spent a pleasant hour with the principal of a select school, kept in a large, dignified and comfortable mansion, once occupied by the poet Cowper.  In the yard behind the house there is a wide-spreading and prolific pear-tree planted by his hands.  This, too, was one of the thousands of old, stately dwellings you meet with here and there, which have no beginning nor end that you can get at.  Cowper lived and wrote in this, for instance; but who lived in it a century before he was born?  Who built it?  Which of the Two Roses did he mount on his arms?  Or did he live and build later, and dine his townsman, the great Oliver, or was he loyal to the last to Charles the First?  These are questions that come up, on going over such a building, but no one can answer them, and you are left to the wisdom of limping legends on the subject.  The present occupant has an antiquarian penchant; so, a short time after he took possession of the house, he began to make explorations in the walls and wainscotings, as men of the same mind have done at Nineveh and Pompeii.  Having penetrated a thick surface of white lava, or a layer of lime, put on with a brush "in an earlier age than ours," he came upon a gorgeous wall of tapestry, with inwoven figures and histories of great men and women, quite as large as life, and all of very florid complexion and luxurious costumes.  He has already exhumed a great many square yards of this picturesque fabric, wrought in by-gone ages, and is continuing the work with all the zest and success of a fortunate archæologist.  Now it is altogether probable, that Cowper, as he sat in one of those rooms writing at his beautiful rhymes, had not the slightest idea that he was surrounded by such a crowd of kings, queens, and other great personages, barely concealed behind a thin cloud of white-wash.

It may possibly be true, that a few beautiful, fair-haired heretics in love or religion have been stone-masoned up alive in the walls of abbeys or convents.  Sir Walter Scott leaned to that belief, and perhaps had credible history for it.  But if the trowel has slain its thousands, the whitewash swab has slain its ten thousands of innocents.  Think of the furlongs of richly-wrought tapestry, full of sacred and profane history, and the furlongs of curiously-carved panels, wainscoting, and cornice that floppy, sloppy, vandal brush of pigs' bristles and pail of diluted lime have eclipsed and obliterated for ever, and not a retributive drop of the villainous mixture has fallen into the perpetrator's eye to "make his foul intent seem horrible!"  Think of Christian kings of glorious memory, even Defenders of the Faith, with their fair queens, princes of the blood, and knights, noble and brave, all, in one still St. Bartholomew night of that soft, thin, white flood, buried from the sight of the living as completely as the Roman sentinel at his post by the red gulf-stream of Vesuvius!  Still, we must not be too hard on these seemingly barbarous transactions.  "Not in anger, not in wrath," nor in foolish fancy, was that dripping brush always lifted upon these works of art.  Many a person of cultivated taste saw a time when he could say, almost with Sancho Panza, "blessings on the man who invented whitewash!  It covers a tapestry, a carving, or a sculpture all over like a blanket;" like that one spoken of in Macbeth.  England is just beginning to learn what treasures of art in old mansions, churches and cathedrals were saved to the present age by a timely application of that cheap and healthy fluid.  For there was a time when stern men of iron will arose, who had no fear of Gothic architecture, French tapestry, or Italian sculpture before their eyes; who treated things that had awed or dazzled the world as "baubles" of vanity, to be put away, as King Josiah put away from his realm the graven images of his predecessors.  And these men thought they were doing good service to religion by pushing their bayonets at the most delicate works of the needle, pencil and chisel; ripping and slitting the most elaborately wrought tapestry, - stabbing off the fine leaf, and vine-work from carved cornices and wainscoting, and mutilating the marble lace-work of the sculptor in the old cathedrals.  The only way to save these choice things was to make them suddenly take the white veil from the whitewasher's brush.  Thousands of them were thus preserved, and they are now being brought forth to the light again, after having been shut away from the eye of man for several centuries.

The school-house is still standing in Huntingdon, in good condition and busy occupation, in which Oliver Cromwell stormed the English alphabet and carried the first parallel of monosyllables at the point of the pen.  The very form or bench of oak from which he mounted the breach is still occupied by boys of the same size and age, with the same number of inches between their feet and the floor which separated it from his.  Had the photographic art been discovered in his day, we might have had his face and form as he looked when seated as a rosy-faced, light-haired boy in the rank and file of the youngsters gathered within those walls.  What an overwhelming revelation it would have been to his young, honest and merry mind, if some seer, like him who told Hazael his future, could have given him a sudden glimpse of what he was to be and do in his middle manhood!

After tea, I continued my walk westward to a small, quiet, comfortable village, about five miles from Huntingdon, where I became the guest of "The Old Mermaid," who extended her amphibious hospitalities to all strangers wishing bed and board for the night.  Both I received readily and greatly enjoyed under her roof, especially the former.  Never did I occupy a bed so fringed with the fanciful artistries of dreamland.  It was close up under the thatched roof, and it was the most easy and natural thing in the world for the fancies of the midnight hour to turn that thatching into hair, and to cheat my willing mind with the delusion that I was sleeping with the long, soft tresses of Her Submarine Ladyship wound around my head.  It was a delightful vagary of the imagination, which the morning light, looking in through the little checker-work window, gently dispelled.

The next day I bent my course in a north-westerly direction, and passed through a very fertile and beautiful section.  The scenery was truly delightful; - not grand nor splendid, but replete with quiet pictures that please the eye and touch the heart with a sense of gladness.  The soft mosaic work of the gently rounded hills, or figures wrought in wheat, barley, oats, beans, turnips, and meadow and pasture land, and grouped into landscapes in endless alternation of lights and shades, and all this happy little world now veiled by the low, summer clouds, now flooded by a sunburst between them - all these lovely and changing sceneries made my walk like one through a continuous gallery of paintings.

Harvesting had commenced in real earnest, and the wheat-fields were full of reapers, some wielding the sickle, others the scythe.  When I saw men and women bending almost double to cut their sheaves close to the ground, I longed to walk through a barley-field with one of our American cradles, and show them how we do that sort of thing.  As yet I have seen no reaping machines in operation, and I doubt if they will ever come into such extensive use here as with us, owing to the abundance of cheap labor in this country.  I saw on this day's walk the heaviest crop of wheat that I have noticed since I left London.  It must have averaged sixty bushels to the acre for the whole field.

Late in the afternoon it began to rain; and I was glad to find shelter and entertainment at a comfortable village inn, under the patronage of "The Green Man," perhaps a brother or near relative of Mermadam my hostess that entertained me the preceding night.  It was a unique old building, or rather a concrete of a great variety of buildings devoted to a remarkable diversity of purposes, including brewing, farming, and other occupations.  The large, low, dark kitchen was flanked by one of the old-fashioned fire-places, with space for a large family between the jambs, and the hollow of the chimney ample enough to show one of the smaller constellations at the top of it in a clear night.  A seat on the brick or stone floor before one of these kitchen fire-places is to me the focus of the home comforts of the house, and I always make for it mechanically.  As the darkness drew on, several agricultural laborers drifted in, one after the other, until the broad, deep pavement of the hearth was lined by a row of them, quite fresh from their work.  They were quiet, sober-looking men, and they spoke with subdued voices, without animation or excitement, as if the fatigue of the day and the general battle of life had softened them to a serious, pensive mood and movement.  As they sat drying their jackets around the fire, passing successive mugs of the landlord's ale from one to the other, they grew more and more conversational; and, as I put in a question here and there, they gave me an insight into the general condition, aspects and prospects of their class which I had not obtained before.  They were quite free to answer any questions relating to their domestic economy, their earnings, spendings, food, drink, clothing, housing and fuel, also in reference to their educational and religious privileges and habits.

It was now the first week of harvest; and harvest in England, in any one locality, covers the space of a full month, in ordinary weather.  Then, as the season varies remarkably, so that one county is frequently a week earlier in harvesting than that adjoining it on the north, the work for the sickle is often prolonged from the middle of July to the middle of September.  This is the period of great expectation as well as toil for the agricultural laborers.  Every man, woman, and boy of them is all put under the stimulus of extra earnings through these important weeks.  Even the laborers hired by the year have a full month given them for harvesting forty or fifty extra shillings under this stimulus.  Nearly all the grain in England is cut for a certain stipulated sum per acre; and thousands of all ages, with sickle or scythe in hand, see the sun rise and set while they are at work in the field.  In the field they generally breakfast, lunch, and dine; and when it is considered there is daylight enough for labor between half-past three in the morning to half-past eight at night, one may easily see how many of the twenty-four hours they may bend to their toil.  The price for cutting and binding wheat is from 10s. to 14s., or from $2 40c. to $3 36c. per acre, and 8s., or $1 92c. per acre for oats and barley.  The men who cut, bind, and shock by the acre generally have to find their own beer, and will earn from 24s. to 28s., or from $5 76c. to $6 72c. per week.  The regular laborers frequently let themselves to their employers during the harvest month at from 20s. to 24s. per week, which is just about double their usual wages.  In addition to this pay, they are often allowed two quarts of ale and two quarts of small beer per day; not the small beer of New England, made only of hops, ginger, and molasses; but a far more stimulating drink, quite equal to our German lager.  This gallon of beer will cost the farmer about 10d., or 20c.  Where the piece-work laborer furnishes his own malt liquor, it must cost him on an average about an English shilling, or twenty-four cents, a day.

Two or three of the men who formed the circle around the fire at The Green Man, had come to purchase, or pay for, a keg of beer for their harvest allowance.  It was to me a matter of half-painful interest to see what vital importance they attached to a supply of this stimulant - to see how much more they leaned upon its strength and comfort than upon food.  It was not in my heart to argue the question with them, or to seek to dispel the hereditary and pleasant illusion, that beer alone, of all human drinks, could carry them through the long, hot hours of toil in harvest.  Besides, I wished to get at their own free thoughts on the subject without putting my own in opposition to them, which might have slightly restricted their full expression.  Every one of them held to the belief, as put beyond all doubt or question by the experience of the present and all past generations, that wheat, barley and oats could not be reaped and ricked without beer, and beer at the rate of a gallon a day per head.  Each had his string of proofs to this conviction terminating in a pewter mug, just as some poor people praying to the Virgin have a string of beads ending in a crucifix, which they tell off with honest hearts and sober faces.  Each could make it stand to reason that a man could not bear the heat and burden of harvest labor without beer.  Each had his illustration in the case of some poor fellow who had tried the experiment, out of principle or economy, and had failed under it.  It was of no use to talk of temperance and all that.  It was all very nice for well-to-do people, who never blistered their hands at a sickle or a scythe, to tell poor, laboring men, sweating at their hot and heavy work from sun to sun, that they must not drink anything but milk and water or cold tea and coffee, but put them in the wheat-field a few days, and let them try their wishy-washy drinks and see what would become of them.  As I have said, I did not undertake to argue the men out of this belief, partly because I wished to learn from them all they thought and felt on the subject, and partly, I must confess, because I was reluctant to lay a hard hand upon a source of comfort which, to them, holds a large portion of their earthly enjoyments, especially when I could not replace it with a substitute which they would accept, and which would yield them an equal amount of satisfaction.

A personal habit becomes a "second nature" to the individual, even if he stands alone in its indulgence.  But when it is an almost universal habit, coming down from generation to generation, throwing its creepers and clingers around the social customs and industrial economies of a great nation, it is almost like re-creating a world to change that second nature thus strengthened.  This change is slowly working its way in Great Britain - slowly, but perceptibly here and there - thanks to the faithful and persevering efforts put forth by good and true men, to enlighten the subjects of this impoverishing and demoralising custom, which has ruled with such despotism over the laborers of the land.  Little by little the proper balance between the Four Great Powers of human necessity, - Food, Drink, Raiment and Housing, so long disturbed by this habit, is being restored.  Still, the preponderance of Drink, especially among the agricultural laborers in England, is very striking and sad.  As a whole, Beer must still stand before Bread - even before Meat, and before both in many cases, in their expenditures.  The man who sat next me, in muddy leggings, and smoking coat, was mildly spoken, quiet, and seemingly thoughtful.  He had come for his harvest allowance of 20s. worth of beer.  If he abstained from its use on Sundays, he would have a ration of about tenpence's worth daily.  That would buy him a large loaf of bread, two good cuts of mutton or beef, and all the potatoes and other vegetables he could eat in a day.  But he puts it all into the Jug instead of the Basket.  Jug is the juggernaut that crushes his hard earnings in the dust, or, without the figure, distils them into drink.  Jug swallows up the first fruits of his industry, and leaves Basket to glean among the sharpest thorns of his poverty.  Jug is capricious as well as capacious.  It clamors for quality as well as quantity; it is greedy of foaming and beaded liquors.  Basket does well if it can bring to the reaper the food of well-kept dogs.  In visiting different farms, I have noticed men and women at their luncheons and dinners in the field.  A hot mutton chop, or a cut of roast-beef, and a hot potato, seem to be a luxury they never think of in the hardest toil of harvest.  Both the meals I have mentioned consist, so far as I have seen, of only two articles of food, - bread and bacon, or bread and cheese.  And this bacon is never warm, but laid upon a slice of bread in a thin, cold layer, instead of butter, both being cut down through with a jack-knife into morsels when eaten.

Such is a habit that devours a lion's share of the English laborer's earnings, and leaves Food, Raiment, and Housing to shift for themselves.  If he works by the piece and finds his own beer, it costs him more than he pays for house rent, or for bread, or meat, or for clothes for himself and family.  If his employer furnishes it or pays him commutation money, it amounts for all his men to a tax of half-a-crown to the acre for his whole farm.  There is no earthly reason why agricultural laborers in this country should spend more in drink than those of New England.  I am confident that if a census were taken of all the "hired men" of our six states, and a fair average struck, the daily expenditure for drinks would not exceed twopence, or four cents per head, while their average wages would amount to 4s., or 96 cents, per day through the year.  Yet our Summers are far hotter and dryer than in England, our labor equally hard, and there is really more natural occasion for drinks in our harvest fields than here.  It would require a severe apprenticeship for our men to acquire a taste for sharp ale or strong beer as a beverage under our July sun.  A pail or jug of sweetened water, perhaps with a few drops of cider to the pint, to sour it slightly, and a spoonful of ginger stirred in, is our substitute for malt liquor.  Sometimes beer made of nothing but hops, water, and a little molasses, is brought into the field, and makes even an exhilarating drink, without any alcoholic effect.  Cold coffee, diluted with water, and re-sweetened, is a healthful and grateful luxury to our farm laborers.

It would be a blessed thing for all the outdoor and indoor laborers in this country, if the broad chasm between the strong beer of Old England and the small beer of New England could be bridged, and they be carried across to the shore of a better habit.  The farm hands here need a good deal of gentle leading and suggestion in this matter.  If some humane and ingenious man would get up a new, cheap, cold drink, which should be nutritious, palatable and exhilarating, without any inebriating property, it would be a boon of immeasurable value.  Malt liquors are made in such rivers here, or rather in such lakes with river outlets; there is such a system for their distribution and circulation through every town, village, and hamlet; and they are so temptingly and conveniently kegged, bottled, and jugged, and so handy to be carried out into the field, that the habit of drinking them is almost forced upon the poor man's lips.  If a cheaper drink, refreshing and strengthening, could be made equally convenient and attractive, it would greatly help to break this hereditary thraldom to the Beer-Barrel.  Another powerful auxiliary to this good work might be contributed in the form of a simple contrivance, which any man of mechanical genius and a kind heart might elaborate.  In this go-ahead age, scores of things are made portable that once were fast-anchored solidities.  We have portable houses, portable beds, portable stoves and cooking ranges, as well as portable steam-engines.  Now, if some benevolent and ingenious man would get up a little portable affair, at the cost of two or three shillings, especially for agricultural laborers in this country, which they could carry with one hand into the field, and by which they could make and keep hot a pot of coffee, cocoa, chocolate, broth or porridge, and also bake a piece of meat and a few potatoes, it would be a real benefaction to thousands, and help them up to the high road of a better condition.

What is the best condition to which the agricultural laborers in Great Britain may ever expect to attain, or to which they may be raised by that benevolent effort now put forth for their elevation?  They may all be taught to read and write and do a little in the first three rules of arithmetic.  That will raise them to a new status and condition.  Education of the masses has become such a vigorous idea with the Government and people of England; so much is doing to make the children of the manufacturing districts pass through the school-room into the factory, carrying with them the ability and taste for reading; ragged schools, working-men's clubs, and institutions for all kinds of cheap learning and gratuitous teaching are multiplying so rapidly; the press is turning out such a world of literature for the homes of the poor, and the English Post, like a beneficent Providence, is distilling such a morning dew of manuscript and printed thoughts over the whole length and breadth of the country, and all these streams of elevating influence are now so tending towards the agricultural laborers, that there is good reason to believe the next generation of them will stand head and shoulders above any preceding one in the stature of intelligence and self-respect.  This in itself will give them a new status in society, as beneficial to their employers as to themselves.  It will increase their mutual respect, and create a better footing for their relationships.

But the first improvement demanded in their condition, and the most pressingly urgent, is a more comfortable, decent and healthy housing.  Until this is effected, all other efforts to raise them mentally and morally must fail of their expected result.  The London Times, and other metropolitan, and many local, journals publish almost daily distressing accounts of the miserable tenements occupied by the men and women whose labor makes England the garden of fertility and beauty that it is.  Editors are making the subject the theme of able and stirring articles, and some of the most eloquent members of Parliament are speaking of it with great power.  It is not only generous but just to take the language in which the writers and orators of a country denounce the evils existing in it cum grano salis, or with considerable allowance for exaggeration.  Their statements and denunciations should not be used against their country as a reproach by the people of another, because they prove an earnest desire and effort to reform abuses which grew up in an unenlightened past.  As a specimen of the language which is sometimes held on this subject, I subjoin the following paragraph from the Saturday Review, perhaps the most cynical or unsentimental journal in England: -

"There is a wailing for the dirt and vice and misery which must prevail in houses where seven or eight persons, of both sexes and all ages, are penned up together for the night in the one rickety, foul, vermin-hunted bed-room.  The picture of agricultural life unrolls itself before us as it is painted by those who know it best.  We see the dull, clouded mind, the bovine gaze, the brutality and recklessness, and the simple audacity, and the confessed hatred of his betters, which mark the English peasant, unless some happy fortune has saved him from the general lot, and persuaded him that life has something besides beer that the poor man may have and may relish."

Now this is a sad picture truly.  The pen is sharp and cuts like a knife, - but it is the surgeon's knife, not the poisoned barb of a foreigner's taunt.  This is the hopeful and promising aspect of these delineations and denunciations of the laboring man's condition.  That low, damp, ill-ventilated, contracted room in which he pens his family at night, was, quite likely, constructed in the days of Good Queen Bess, or when "George the Third was King," at the latest.  And houses were built for good, substantial farmers in those days which they would hardly house their horses in now.  There are hundreds of mechanics and day-laborers in Edinburgh who pen their families nightly in apartments once owned and occupied by Scotch dukes and earls, but which a journeyman shoemaker of New England would be loth to live in rent free.  Even the favorite room of Queen Mary, in Holyrood Palace, in which she was wont to tea and talk with Rizzio, would be too small and dim for the shop-parlor of a small London tradesman of the present day.  Thus, after all, the low-jointed, low-floored, small-windowed, ill-ventilated cottages now occupied by the agricultural laborers of England were proportionately as good as the houses built at the same period for the farmers of the country, many of which are occupied by farmers now, and the like of which never could be erected again on this island.  Indeed, one wonders at finding so many of these old farm houses still inhabited by well-to-do people, who could well afford to live in better buildings.

This, then, is a hopeful sign, and both pledge and proof of progress - that the very cottages of laboring men in England that once figured so poetically in the histories and pictures of rural life, are now being turned inside out to the scrutiny of a more enlightened and benevolent age, revealing conditions that stir up the whole community to painful sensibility and to vigorous efforts to improve them.  These cottages were just as low, damp, small and dirty thirty years ago as they are now, and the families "penned" in them at night were doubtless as large, and perhaps more ignorant than those which inhabit them at the present time.  It is not the real difference between the actual conditions of the two periods but the difference in the dispositions and perceptions of the public mind, that has produced these humane sensibilities and efforts for the elevation of the ploughers, sowers, reapers and mowers who enrich and beautify this favored land with their patient and poorly-paid labor.  And there is no doubt that these newly-awakened sentiments and benevolent activities will carry the day; replacing the present tenements of the agricultural laborers with comfortable, well-built cottages, fitted for the homes of intelligent and virtuous families.  This work has commenced in different sections under favorable auspices.  Buildings have been erected on an estate here and there which will be likely to serve as models for whole hamlets of new tenements.  From what I have heard, I should think that Lord Overstone, of the great banking house of the Lloyds, has produced the best models for cottage homes, on his estates in Northamptonshire.  Although built after the most modern and improved plan, and capacious enough to accommodate a considerable family very comfortably, almost elegantly, the yearly rent is only £3, or less than fifteen dollars!

Now with a three-pound cottage, having a parlor, kitchen, bed-room and buttery on the lower floor, and an equal number of apartments on the upper; with a forty-rod garden to grow his vegetables, and with a free school for his children at easy walking distance, the agricultural laborer in England will be placed as far forward on the road of improvement as the Government or people, or both, can set him.  The rest of the way upward and onward he must make by his own industry, virtue and economy.  From this point he must work out his own progress and elevation.  No Government, nor any benevolent association, nor general nor private benevolence, can regulate the rate of his wages.  The labor market will determine that, just as the Corn Exchange does the price of wheat.  But there is one thing he can do to raise himself in civil stature, moral growth, and domestic comfort.  He may empty the Jug into the Basket.  He and his family may consume in solids what they now do in frothy fluids.  They may exchange their scanty dinner of cold bacon and bread for one of roast beef and plum pudding, by substituting cold coffee, cocoa or pure water for strong beer.  Or, if they are content to go on with their old fare of food, they may save the money they expended in ale for the rent of one or two acres of land, for a cow, or for two or three pigs, or deposit it weekly in the Post-Office Savings' Bank, until it shall amount to a sum sufficient to enable them to set up a little independent business of their own.

Here, then, are three great steps indispensable for the elevation of the agricultural laborers of Great Britain to the highest level in society which they can reach and maintain.  Two of these the Government, or the land-owners, or both, must take.  They are Improved Dwellings and Free and Accessible Education.  These the laborer cannot provide for himself and family.  It is utterly beyond his ability to do it.  The third, last, long step must depend entirely upon himself; though he may be helped on by sympathy, suggestion, and encouragement from those who know how hard a thing it is for the fixed appetites to break through the meshes of habit.  He must make drink the cheapest of human necessities.  He must exchange Beer for Bread, for clothes, for books, or for things that give permanent comfort and enjoyment.  When these three steps are accomplished, the British laborer will stand before his country in the best position it can give him.  And I believe it will be a position which will make him contented and happy, and be satisfactory to all classes of the people.

After all that can be done for them, the wages of the agricultural laborers of Great Britain cannot be expected to exceed, on an average, twelve shillings a week, or about half the price of the same labor in America.  Their rent and clothes cost them, perhaps, less than half the sum paid by our farm hands for the same items of expenditure.  Their food must also cost only about half of what our men pay, who would think they were poor indeed if they could not have hot meat breakfasts, roast or boiled beef dinners and cold meat suppers, with the usual sprinkling of puddings, pies, and cakes, and tea sweetened with loaf sugar.  Thus, after all, put the English laborer in the position suggested; give him such a three-pound cottage and garden as Lord Overstone provides; give his children free and convenient schooling; then let him exchange his ale for nutritious and almost costless drinks, and if he is still able to live for a few years on his old food-fare, he may work his way up to a very comfortable condition with his twelve shillings a week, besides his beer-money.  On these conditions he would be able almost to run neck and neck with our hired men in the matter of saving money "for a rainy day," or for raising himself to a higher position.

We will put them side by side, after the suggested improvements have been realised; assuming each has a wife, with two children too young to earn anything at field work.

American Laborer at 24s per week       English Laborer, at 12s per week
Weekly Expense     $  c.   s. d        Weekly Expense     s. d.  $ c
for: -                                 for: -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -        - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Food              3 50 = 14  7        Food              7  3 = 1 75
Rent and Taxes    0 67 =  2  9        Rent              1  2 = O 28
Fuel, average of
     the year      O 48 =  2  O        For Fuel          1  O = O 24
For Clothes        1  0 =  4  2        For Clothes        2  1 = 0 50
Total Weekly                           Total Weekly
   Expenses      - - - - - - -           Expenses      - - - - - - -
                   5 65 = 23  6                          11  6 = 2 77
                   - - - - - - -                         - - - - - - -

I think the American reader, who is personally acquainted with the habits and domestic economy of our farm laborers, will regard this estimate of their expenditures as quite moderate.  I have assumed, in both cases, that no time is lost in the week on account of sickness, or of weather, or lack of employment; and all the incidental expenses I have included in the four general items given.  It must also be conceded that our farm hands do not average more than twenty-four English shillings, or $5 75c., per week, through all the seasons of the year.  The amount of expenditure allowed in the foregoing estimate enables them to support themselves and their families comfortably, if they are temperate and industrious; to clothe and educate their children; to make bright and pleasant homes, with well-spread tables, and to have respectable seats in church on the Sabbath.  On the other hand, we have assigned to the English agricultural laborer what he would regard a proportionately comfortable allowance for the wants of a week.  We may not have divided it correctly, but the total of the items is as great as he would expect to expend on the current necessities of seven days.  I doubt if one in a thousand of the farm laborers of Great Britain lays out more than the sum we have allotted for one week's food, rent, and fuel and clothes.  We then reach this result of the balance-sheet of the two men.  Their weekly savings hardly differ by a penny; each amounting to about 5d., or 10 cents.  At first sight, it might seem, from this result, that the English farm laborer earns half as much, lives half as well, and saves as much as the American.  But he has a resource for increasing his weekly savings which his American competitor would work his fingers to the bone before he would employ.  His wife is able and willing to go with him into the field and earn from three to five shillings a week.  Then, if he commutes with his employer, he will receive from him 4d. daily, or 2s. a week, for beer-money.  Thus, if he and his wife are willing to live, as such families do now, on bread, bacon and cheese, and such vegetables as they can grow in their garden, they may lay up, from their joint earnings, a dollar, or four shillings a week, provided a sufficiently stimulating object be set before them.  To me it is surprising that they sustain so much human life on such small means.  They are often reproached for their want of wise economy; but never was more keen ingenuity, more close balancing of pennies against provisions than a great many of them practice and teach.  Let the most astute or utilitarian of social economists try the experiment of housing, feeding and clothing himself, wife and six children too young to earn anything, on ten or twelve shillings a week; and he will learn something that his philosophy never dreamed of.

Even while bending under the weight of the beer-barrel, thousands of agricultural laborers in England have accomplished wonders by their indefatigable industry, integrity and economy.  Put a future before them with a sun in it - some object they may reach that is worth a life's effort, and as large a proportion of them will work for it as you will find in any other country.  A servant girl told me recently that her father was a Devonshire laborer, who worked the best years of his life for seven shillings a week, and her mother for three, when they had half a dozen children to feed and clothe.  Yet, by that unflagging industry and ingenious economy with which thousands wrestle with the necessities of such a life and throw them, too, they put saving to saving, until they were able to rent an acre of orcharding, a large garden for vegetables, then buy a donkey and cart, then a pony and cart, and load and drive them both to market with their own and their neighbors' produce, starting from home at two in the morning.  In a few years they were able to open a little grocery and provision shop, and are now taking their rank among the tradespeople of the village.  But if the farm servants of England could only be induced to give up beer and lay by the money paid them as a substitute, it alone would raise them to a new condition of comfort, even independence.  At 4d. a day commutation money, they would have each £5 at the end of the year.  That would pay the rent of two acres of land here; or it would buy five on the Illinois Central Railroad.  Three years' beer-money would pay for those rich prairie acres, his fare by sea and land to them, and leave him £3 in his pocket to begin their cultivation with.  Three years of this saving would make almost a new man of him at home, in the way of self-respect, comfort and progress.  It would be a "nest-egg," to which hope, habit and a strengthening ambition would add others of larger size and value from year to year.

Give, then, the British agricultural laborer good, healthy Housing, Free Schooling, and let him empty the Jug into the Basket, and he may work his way up to a very comfortable condition at home.  But if he should prefer to go to Australia or America, where land is cheap and labor dear, in a few years he may save enough to take him to either continent, with sufficient left in his pocket to begin life in a new world.