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that for the county of Norfolk, the most purely agricultural county in England, such a statement is not only an exaggeration but a glaring misstatement of facts. Why, Norfolk swarms with tenant farmers, small and great, who have risen from the plough. Some of the very richest men in the county are men who have worked at 98. a week and can barely write their names.

It is hardly an exaggeration to say that the cattle trade of the eastern counties is mainly in the hands of men who are sons of the plough.

No career! I protest it would be difficult to point to any industry in which the workmen of sterling character, physical energy, ambition, and only a little more than average sagacity are more sure to rise above the rank and file. The sot, whose paradise is the pothouse; the giggling fool, who is the butt of the harvest field; the knockkneed imbecile, who cannot be trusted to drive a cow from market; the born poacher, who has a passion for prowling in plantations after dark, and who will never do a day's work if he has any hope of earning half as much at night; the sentimental softy-and we have such in Arcady-who loses his heart at seventeen, is a father at eighteen, and at nineteen is the husband of a dirty trollop who can neither cook nor sew: these and a host more have no career on the land, and in no conceivable line of life could they emerge from the residuum to which they belong. Ought such men to rise? Rise above whom? Rise above what? What system of promotion since the world began could be made to work, or ought to work, from which you excluded the condition of merit? Rights of man! Yes; man has rights, and they rise in proportion as he rises to the ideal of humanity. They lessen exactly in proportion as he sinks below that ideal. Some men have a right to a cow and three acres, and they will get it by their own strong wills and industry, their years of selfdenial, frugality, and rectitude. Some men have a right to the treadmill. Unhappily the latter are not so secure of getting their rights as the former. Right? Yes! The right of the worthiest. Once a labourer always a labourer! I'll find you fifty men, ten miles from the chair on which I am sitting, every one of whom was born in a hovel, every one of whom was educated in a village school or never educated at all, every one of whom has lived by day labour in his time, and every one of whom is himself more or less an employer of labour or occupier of land, by which be keeps himself and his family, owner of house or cow, some of them of flocks and herds-nay, some who are the freeholders of their own broad acres and who will hardly care to be classed among the Little ones.

Let me speak out and tell thy tale, Samuel Ringer—thou, with thy cheery face and cheery voice, whom none ever knew to grumble in drought or flood; thou, sitting in the chimney corner chuckling at that broad-browed, resolute wife of thine and calling up the days that were. That must have been a grand face of hers, with the shapely, powerful

head and the deep-set eye. I wonder what the colour of the soft hair was in those days when thou wentest a-courting. Tell us all about it, Mr. Ringer, and let us hear.

'Well, you see, I always had good masters; and when I was a little boy there was Squire Balls as used to farm the manor farm at Bale. He warn't no squire, though we used to call him so, and he held about 500 acres, and it was a surprising large farm in those days. I got my first year 3l. and my victuals. There was five of us, men and boys, in the house, and we was engaged by the year. We was all engaged from Michaelmas to Michaelmas, and Michaelmas time Squire Balls paid us all our year's wages. Sometimes he'd take a man on again, sometimes he would not; and when folks took their wages they mostly used to go into Swaffham market; and such a piece of work as there used to be you never see. Just before Michaelmas my first year my brother Tom, who was five years older than I was, came to me, and he says, "Sam, you ain't going to Swaffham, are you? What call have you to spend your money? You come home and see father. Squire will give you leave." So I was overpersuaded and went home and stayed a Sunday with father. I spent my money same as other folks did. Aye! I spent it; for I gave it to father to take care on, and it was a goodish many years before I saw it any more. That's when I was fifteen, as far as I know, and I went on that way for eleven years, and it's as true as Gospel I never touched my wages all that time.

'Labouring men used not to care about clothes in those days as they do now. I used to have a slop on Sunday. I used to have a smart slop over everything. I used to go to church in it. When my shoes wore out mother used to get me a pair of new ones. I never asked where they came from. I don't mean I had only my wages, 'cause Squire Balls was wonderful fond of company, and there was gentlemen's horses to bring round of a night, and the hunting gentlemen used to go across the land, and they was wonderful free with their money sometimes. But I am telling you the truth: for eleven years I never touched my wages; my father put them all into Day's bank at Swaffham, and when he died, and I were twenty-six years old, there they were and a tidy bit of money more.'

Mr. Ringer declined to tell me the sum total of the capital at his disposal when at the age of thirty-two he took unto him his wife, she being thirty-three, and he became the tenant of a public-house with fourteen acres of land, for which he paid 571. a year, rates and taxes and tithes not included. He wanted to charge me 60l.,' added Mr. Ringer, but I made him knock off three; 60l. was really, I said, oudacious.' What's he worth now? There are other things the wise won't tell you besides what religion they are of. Has he made a fortune? Such men don't make fortunes; they save them. If there were as many wise men out of Arcady as there are in it there would be rather a VOL. XIX.-No. 107.


brisk competition for those two stalwart sons of thine, friend Ringer, with such blood as thine and hers in their veins. Trust them? with a million!

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An altogether different creature from my worthy friend Ringer is Jehu the jobber. (In Norfolk a cattle dealer is commonly called a jobber.) I made his acquaintance in a third-class carriage. I have very rarely met a man of brighter, stronger, clearer brain. But Jehu is not a model character. To begin with, his language is profane from long habit-given over to damson tart like,' as they say in Arcady. He must be a man verging on sixty; sharp as a needle, active as a cat, wide awake as a weazel and as fearless. He kept us all convulsed with laughter for miles. Tell us a story, Jehu; now du,' cried one. 'Tell us your own story, Mr. Jehu,' said I. He turned on me with a bright twinkle of his roguish eye. Where'm I to begin?' I felt the man could have turned me inside out in five minutes if he pleased and have made me a laughing-stock, and I was rather nervous. 'How did you get your first foothold on the Hillhow did you make your first money?' Jehu laughed. Foothold? Borrowed the parson's butes till Sunday. Money? I see an old chap by the roadside and jumped on his back and turned out his pockets.' We all laughed, but Jehu thereupon opened the flood-gates. He had never been to school, not he.. Crow-keeping was his earliest employment, then anything. He was proud of the endurance he had shown in mowing, and gave us almost incredible accounts of the number of hours he had kept on working at a stretch. Jehu is a trifle below middle height, but he must have been a man of extraordinary strength in his time. He was driven to Norwich cattle market by finding himself out of work. He applied to a money-lender on the Hill.' Observe the man was not worth a shilling in the world-a mere labourer, the son of a labourer. I forget the term he used in speaking of this money-lender, but on my expressing surprise Jehu opened his eyes on me as if he would say, 'Well, you are an innocent.' It appears there are hosts of small money-lenders in the purlieus of the cattle markets, who make advances to speculators' with an eye;' and Jehu told me he had borrowed as much as 200l. at a time on Friday on condition of repaying 220l. on Saturday night. 'I'm past that now,' he said. Gurneys gnaw me, and I gnaw them.' His first venture was a lot of pigs. 'I went and borrowed 177. to buy 'em with, and I sold 'em all but three for 221. 10s.; and I had only to pay 191. to the old chap that lent me the money. So I had nothing to complain of.' His difficulties with the three pigs nobody would buy he described in the most inimitable way. Clearly there may be worse encumbrances than a white elephant. The poor animals were starving, 'and they shrook that bad I was right vexed, and they didn't take no heed o' me when I told 'em to hold their noise,' &c. &c. &c. That was the beginning of Jehu's success. He is a man of substance

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now-is a freeholder and a dealer in a large way, and by no means the only large cattle jobber who lives to laugh at the fallacy that the labourer has no career. Yes, and, curiously enough, by no means the only one of that class who cannot read, and yet who have mastered that accomplishment of scrawling their names at the bottom of a cheque, herein surpassing that scholarly monarch whose sign for Rex was the letter X.' Such men as Jehu may be counted by the dozen ; everybody knows them. They are, it must be confessed, a rough, coarse lot as a rule, and men whose power of absorbing drink is dreadful. That is the curse of the cattle market. Jehu assumed that a man who couldn't take his allowance without forgetting of hisself' was a man without brains. 'I don't mean to say as it's a thing as ought to be there's a deal too much liquor. I don't want it, and there's lots o' men as would be best wi'out it. But it's the brains as holds it, and if you can't hold it, why, you don't stand a chance.' Jehu's creed is a simple one: no working man need live and die 'on the land' who has brains and can walk straight. But walking straight involves a very great deal. In Jehu's lips it is a most pregnant phrase.


Let it not be supposed that only men of very extraordinary gifts, like Jehu, can emerge from the low condition of the agricultural labourer. You may find them in every stage of progress from the plough to the manor house.5 Mr. Clare Read's remarkable challenge is full of significance, and must produce its effect, but the question whether a man can or cannot live and thrive and save money on four acres does not end where Mr. Read leaves it. In point of fact, no man whose main source of livelihood is the produce of four acres ever thinks of making that his only source; but his time is his own, and he has the opportunity of making the most of it. He has surplus labour to sell, and almost invariably he has some ingenious device for increasing his earnings. In the name of common sense why should he not? Who finds fault with his hatter for selling umbrellas, or his grocer for selling wines? Do we not all supplement our incomes-the big man by being put upon the directorship of a company, the little man by accepting an agency for an insurance society, the young lady whose pin money is scant by illustrating books, or the clerk in the post office by writing them?

There is John Doggit yonder, on his farm of six acres, for which he pays an extortionate rent. He is in a fair way of becoming owner of many more than six acres before old age surprises him. He is a coal dealer in a small way; he does a little carting for his neighbours; he turns an honest penny by horse hire; he buys horses for the

s I am ready to make a contract with any able-bodied labourers on my estate to give them as their wages the gross saleable produce of four acres of land. I will pay the rent, the tithe, the tax. I will find the capital, the machinery, the implements, the seed, the manure. I will insure the crop, pay the tradesmen's bills, harvest the corn, thresh it, sell it, and deliver it. But would the labourer accept these terms? He would be a fool if he did.'-Speech of Mr. C. S. Read at Dereham, October 30, 1883.


knackers. I shouldn't like to work like Doggit,' says his neighbour Rossin, who slinks into the Green Man' six times a week when he knocks off at 4 P.M. Of course you wouldn't, friend Rossin, but then you are one of the easygoing ones and Doggit is of a different fibre. You have a notion that toil came in with the Fall; he believes that only by toil can a man hope to rise. Such men work harder than the labourer. Do they? Of course they do, because they don't wish to remain labourers. They count the cost and readily pay the price-the price of a career. So Doggit's wife looks after the fowls and sells the eggs to such men as Rossin. He pays the penny and eats the egg with his knife. She pockets the penny and puts it in the money box, and thrift has its reward. You may call it a miserable, miserly way of going on. The point in dispute is whether the labourer need always be a labourer; the question whether it is worth while to be anything else is a different one, which Doggit answers one way and Rossin another.

'I don't hold with scrapin' and scrapin',' says Mrs. Rossin. Perhaps not. Let us keep to our point. Is it true that once a labourer always a labourer?

It is but fair, however, to state my conviction that under no ordinary circumstances can the working man of the country hope to rise in the social scale who has married the wrong woman. I do not remember a single instance of a man with a limp and slatternly wife doing much good.' 'A bad wife,' in Jehu's terse phraseology, 'is worse than the devil.' I did not reprove him for his unparliamentary language, fearing lest he should strengthen it in the repetition. You mean, Mr. Jehu,' said I, that the personage you have named is not always present, and the wife always is.' Jehu' twinked with his little eye,' and understood that I protested, as his reverence always should.

Some of the most successful men I know-I mean in our small Arcadian way-are no more than the husbands of their wives. It seems easy enough for a woman to make a man of her husband; it seems impossible for the husband to make anything of his wife if she is of the wrong sort. You may find examples of the first operation wherever you turn. It was Mrs. Shrub who turned Billy Shrub into Mr. Shrub. I should like to see the human being who would have dared at any time of her life to call Mrs. Shrub Sally. You may take it as a law with few exceptions that the man whose friends call him Willy' at forty will never make his way in the world. You may take it as a law that admits of no possible exception that a married woman who is called by her neighbours Sally' is at best a flabby, feeble, helpless incompetent. Not such an one is Mrs. Shrub. She milks the cows, she tends the poultry, she gathers the eggs, she talks to the bees, she looks after the piglings, she bakes the bread and brews the beer for harvest, she keeps the banking-book, she tells Mr. Shrub what he has to do and he does it. But for his

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