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"SCRAPE your shoes," were my grandmother's unceremonious words, as she stood in the doorway, whilst I walked up a somewhat miry pathway towards the house, called " Peak House;" being her home, and that of my uncle Jonathan, and his son Philip.-"Yes, and rub them too," she added, as I endeavoured to step over a huge straw mat, which lay just within the threshold.
I saw no one but this old lady for an hour or two; my uncle and Philip being then about the fields, and busy. I began to think that my grandmother was a really cross dame, and
that she would use me harshly; but I was mistaken. She was civil enough, according to her own notions; and, as I soon found, kind enough, even according to mine. "Sit ye down, Fred," said she; "are ye hungry, or thirsty, or both together, like the rest of the Londoners, when they have a mind to pay country-folks a visit ?"
I replied, strangely enough, that I did not know. She then pulled off her spectacles, which she always did to prevent their shaking off when she laughed much; and laugh indeed she did more a great deal than I liked-at my expense. However, she construed my doubts hospitably, by ordering in a most plentiful repast. The shining knobby leg of the walnut-tree table was pulled out, the circular flap of it raised, and a cloth laid, which was presently garnished with cold fowl and ham,
buttered cakes hot from the oven, cheese, butter, plum-cake, and home-made wine. During that meal, I remember, my notions of country people underwent an important change; for I had visited a London aunt, who never gave me any thing but a biscuit when I went unasked; and who always wore such magnifying glasses when she carved at dinner, that her slices of pudding were scarcely bigger than shreds of cucumber. After a good hour's amusement at my knife and fork, I drew back. "Well, now can ye tell me what ye think of yourself?" asked my grandmother. I replied in a most satisfactory manner. "It is lucky that ye are pleased for once," she added, Sally, take away; and the sweep up young gentleman's crumbs; and-wipe the table." Thus she contrived to remind me of my untidy ways, without actually reproving me;
which I have since thought was both wise and good-natured. She then replaced her spectacles and resumed her needle. My uncle and my cousin Philip soon afterwards came in, and greeted me very kindly.
It is not my intention to amuse my readers by making a story of my visit, which indeed lasted many years; for I was eventually placed with these my relations, at Peak Hall, to acquire the farming business; nor shall I make them merry, by telling all the particulars of my ignorance and blunders whilst a novice at the farm. Suffice it to say at present, that Philip and I agreed remarkably well; and, on the death of the old lady and my uncle, we took the farm together, and have occupied it as partners for several years, with success and mutual comfort.
With regard to the method and operations