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THE FARM-HOUSE.

11

call it,

of agriculture, I shall endeavour to please my readers and myself, by giving the information, either in the way I first obtained it, or in the form I now possess it, as the case may require. I shall begin by describing the Farm-house and premises. Peak Hall, or as the country people usually

Gablesides,was once the residence of the lord of the manor of Beechy-side and Abbot's Eleigh, in the county of Essex. The house obtained not either of those names without a cause ; for its roof-peaks, or gableends, are no fewer than twelve in number. Three of them form the roof on one side ; two on another ; three at the back. Two projections for staircases have each a gable; and the very roomy porch in front has two. The building is all of red brick, and exhibits in front some curious sculptured ornaments in

Two enor

that material. The windows are of diamond quarry glass, and, like those of churches, have strong stone mullions, or partitions, instead of wooden frames. The ivy on the further side has crept unmolested nearly to the garret windows; and hangs nodding from the porchroof in a very picturesque manner. mous six-columned chimneys stand twenty-five feet higher than the ridge tiles, and give a sort of dignity to the building. The front door is six feet wide, seven feet high, and nearly three inches thick. It is studded for I have counted them many a time — with eight hundred and nine, iron knobs ; it has an iron grating, about six inches square, through which to parley with strangers after nightfall; and it swings on hinges, reaching the whole width of the door. The sides of the porch have twisted spiral balusters, through

THE INMATES.

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which to look, without going from under shelter. Here, in the warm summer evenings have we sat on the oaken settles, on many a happy occasion; and, somehow, memory gilds the balusters, and the tree-tops, and the dangling ivy sprigs, of those early years, with a brighter richer glow than do the setting suns of the finest seasons now.

There used to sit my parent's aged mother, kind and wise in her way, and who, notwithstanding some odd ways

fewer, by the by, and far less mischievous, than those of one of her grandchildren — was beloved and respected for her benevolence and good sense by all who knew her. She and her son, my uncle Jonathan, are goneand it is in vain that we try, by still taking our meals in the porch sometimes, to bring back old scenes, since the old faces cannot be replaced.

It must not be imagined that the front of this ancient dwelling, pretty and remarkable as it is, can be seen completely from the road leading nearest to it. The farm buildings, as is common in this part of the country, stand nearly before it. The long barn and cowsheds, if they were not built on rather lower ground, would hide the house altogether. The frontispiece gives as good a view as can be taken, and is from a spot at a short distance from the bridge. I long regretted the apparently wrong situation of those buildings ; but never more than when, by my foolish proposal to take them down and rebuild them at the back, my poor grandmother was angered almost to fits with me, her rash descendant. We have become used, and quite reconciled to those things ourselves now; and perhaps even attached, like the old folks, to their very

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