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the last Universal Exposition in Paris, which a wealthy cloth - manufacturer had had built for himself about 1600 by Giovanni of Padua, and it was touched with Italian feeling in an English environment. Masses of cold, cold evergreen shrubs hide it from the street, but at the moment the rain was briefly intermitting, and we surprised it, as it were, in a sort of reverie of the South under an afternoon sky, hesitating from gray to blue. At this happy instant the place was embellished by a peacock, sweeping with outspread tail the farthest green of a long velvet lawn, and lending the splendor of his color to a picture richly framed by a stretch of balustrade. The house, with English shyness (which it surely might have overcome after being shown as the most beautiful house in England), faced away from the street, towards a garden which sloped downward from it, towards a dove-cote with pigeons in red and mauve cooing about its eaves and roofs, and mingling their deep-throated sighs with the murmur of a mill somewhere beyond the Avon.
There were other beautiful and famous houses not far from Bradford, but our afternoon was waning, and we consoled ourselves as we could with the old Barton Barn, which was built two hundred years after King Etheldred had given the manor to the abbess of Shaftesbury, and became locally known as the tithe-barn from its use in receiving the dues of the church in kind during the long simple centuries when they were so paid. It is a vast, stately structure, and is now used for the cow-barn of a dairy farmer, whose unkempt cattle stood about, kneedeep in the manure, with the caked and clotted hides which the West of England cattle seem to wear all winter. It did not look such a place as one would like to get milk from in America, but if we could have that
old cow-barn, without the cows, at home, I think we might gainfully exchange our neatest and wholesomest dairy for it. The rich superabundance of the past in England is what always strikes one, and the piety with which the past is preserved and restored promises more and more of antiquity. I am sure the Barton Barn at Bradford is only waiting for some public-spirited magnate who will yet drive the untidy kine from its shelter, clean up, and sod and plant its yard, and with the help of some reverent architect renew it in the image of its prime, and stock it as a museum with the various kinds of tithes which in the ages of faith the neighboring churls used to pay into it for the comfort of the clergy here, and the good of their own souls hereafter.
When we got well away from the tithe-barn we felt the need of tea, and we walked back from the station where our large boy, or little man, had put us down, to the shop of a green-grocer, which is probably the most twentieth-century building in Bradford. It is altogether of wood, and behind the shop, where the vegetables vaunted themselves in all the variety of cabbage, there is a clean little room, with the walls and roof sheathed in matched and painted pine. In this cheerful place, two rustics, a man and a boy, were drinking tea at the only table, but at our coming they politely choked down all the tea that was in their cups, and in spite of our entreaties hurried out with their cheeks bulged by what was left of their bread and butter. It was too bad, we murmured, but our hostess maintained that her late guests had really done, and she welcomed us with a hospitality rendered precious by her dusting off the chairs for us with her apron: I do not know that I had ever had that done for me before, and it seemed very romantic, and very English. The tea and butter were English too, and
excellent, as they almost unfailingly are in England, no matter how poor the place where they are supplied, and the bread was no worse than usual. In a morsel of garden under the window some gillyflowers were in bloom, and when we expressed our surprise, the kind woman went out and gathered some for us: they bloomed there pretty well all the winter, she said; but let not this give the fond reader too glowing an idea of the winter's warmth in the West of England. It only proves how sturdy the English flowers are, and how much raw cold they can stand without turning a petal.
Before our train went, we had time to go a longish walk, which we took through some pleasant, rather new, streets of small houses, each with its gardened front-yard hedged about it with holly or laurel, and looking a good, dull, peaceful home. It may really have been neither, and life may have been as wild, and bad, and fascinating in those streets as in the streets of any American town of the same population as Bradford. There was everything in the charming old place to make life easy; good shops of all kinds, abundant provisions, stores, and not too many licensed victuallers, mostly women, privileged to sell wine and spirits. Yet, as the twilight began to fall, Bradford seemed very lonely, and we thought with terror, what if we should miss our train back to Bath! We got to the station, however, in time to cower half an hour over a grate in which the Company had munificently had a fire early in the day; and to correct by closer observation of an elderly pair an error which had flattered our national pride at the time of our arrival. In hurrying away to get the only fly at the station the lady had then fallen down and the gentleman had kept on, leaving her to pick herself up as she could, while he secured the fly. Perhaps he had
not noticed her falling, but we chose to think the incident very characteristically middle-class English; for all we knew it might be a betrayal of the way all the English treated their wives. Now the same couple arrived to take the train with us for Bath, and we heard them censuring its retard in accents unmistakably American! We fell from our superiority to our English halfbrothers instantly; and I think the little experience was useful in confirming me in the resolution throughout my English travels to practise that slowness in sentencing and executing offenders against one's native ideals and standards which has always been the conspicuous ornament of English travellers among ourselves.
The day that we drove out from Bath to a certain charming old house which I wish I could impart my sense of, but which I will at once own the object of a fond despair, was apparently warm and bright, but was really dim and cold. That is, the warmth and brightness were superficial, while the cold and dimness were structural. The fields on either side of the road were mostly level, though here and there they dipped or rose, delicately green in their diaphanous garment of winter wheat, or more substantially clad in the grass which the winter's cold had not been great enough to embrown. Here and there were spaces of woodland, withdrawn rather afar from our course, except where the trees of an avenue led up from the highway to some unseen mansion. To complete the impression you must always, under the tender blue sky, thickly archipelagoed with whity-brown clouds, have rooks sailing and dreamily scolding, except where they wake into a loud clamor among the leafless tops surrounding some infrequent roof. There are flights of starlings suddenly winging from the pastures, where the cows with their untidily
caked and clotted hides are grazing, and the sheep are idling over the chopped turnips, and the young lambs are shivering with plaintive cries. Amid their lamentations the singing of birds makes itself heard; the singing of larks, or the singing of robins, Heaven knows which, but always angelically sweet. The bare hedges cross and recross the fields, and follow the hard, smooth road in lines unbroken save near some village of gray walls and red roofs, topped by an ancient church. In the background, over a stretch of embankment or along the side of a low hill, sweeps a swift train of little English cars, with a soft whirring sound, as unlike the giant roar of one of our expresses as it is unlike the harsh clatter of a French rapide. The white plumes of steam stretch after it in vain; break, and float thinner and thinner over the track behind.
There were, except in the villages, very few houses; and we met even fewer vehicles. There was one family carriage, with the family in it, and a sort of tranter's wagon somewhere out of Hardy's enchanted pages, with a friendly company of neighbors going to Bath inside it. At one exciting moment there was a lady in a Bath chair driving a donkey violently along the side of the road. A man slashing and wattling the lines of hedge, or trimming the turf beside the foot-path, left his place in literature, and came to life as the hedger and ditcher we had always read of. Beneath the hedges here and there very "rathe primroses" peered out intrepidly, like venturesome live things poising between further advance and retreat. The road was admirable, but it seemed strange that so few people used it. The order in which it was kept was certainly worthy of constant travel, and we noted that from point to point there was a walled space beside it for the storage of road-mending material.