from the midland counties. The traveller read the word American, and pronounced it as the English believe we all do. "My dear," he said to his wife, "this town was settled by the 'Murricans."

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ROM the 10th to the 20th of July the heat was as great in London as the nerves ever register in New York. It was much more continuous, for our heat seldom lasts a week, and there it lasted nearly a fortnight, with a peculiar closeness from the damp and thickness from the smoke. That was why we left London, and went to Great Malvern, for a little respite.

Our run was through a country which frankly confessed a long drouth, such as parches the fields at home in exceptional summers. Rain had not fallen during the heat from which we were escaping, and the grain had been cut and stacked in unwonted safety from mould. There is vastly more wheat grown in England than the simple American, who expects to find it a large market-garden, imagines, and the yield was now so heavy that the stacked sheaves served to cover half the space from which they had been reaped. The meadow-lands were burned by the sun almost as yellow as the stubble; the dry grass along the railroad banks had caught fire from the sparks of the locomotive, and the flames had run through the hedges, into the pasturage and stubble, and at one place they had kindled the stacks of wheat, which farm-hands were pulling apart and beating out. The air was full of the pleasant smell of their burning, and except that the larks

were spiring up into the dull-blue sky, and singing in the torrid air, it was all very like home.

I ventured to say as much to the young man whom I found sleeping in the full blaze of the sun in his corner of our carriage, and to whom I apologized for the liberty I had taken in drawing his curtain so as to shade his comely fresh face. He pardoned me so gratefully that I felt warranted in thinking he might possibly care to know of the resemblance I had noted. He said, “Ah!” in the most amiable manner imaginable, "which part of America?" But just as I was going to tell him, the train drew into the station at Oxford, and he escaped out of the carriage.

Before this he had remarked that we should find the drouth much worse as we went on, for we were now in the Valley of the Thames, which kept the land comparatively moist. But I could not see that the levels of harvest beyond this favored region were different. Still the generous yield of grain half covered the ground; the fires along the embankments continued in places; in places the hay was just mown, and women were tossing it into windrows; at a country station where we stopped there were fat, heavy-fleeced sheep panting wofully in the cattle-pens; but the heat was no worse than it had been. The landscape grew more varied as we approached Worcester, where we meant to pass the night; low hills rose from the plain, softly wooded; and I find from my note-book that the weather was much mitigated by the amenity of all the inhabitants we encountered. I really suppose that the underlined record, "universal politeness," related mainly to the railway company's servants, but there must have been some instances of kindness from others, perhaps fellow-travellers, which I grieve now to have forgotten.

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I have not forgotten the patience with which the people at the old inn-like hotel in Worcester bore our impatience with the rooms which they showed us, and which we found impossibly stuffy, and smelling of the stables below. The inn was a survival of the coaching days, when the stables formed an integral part of the public-house, but did not perfume the fiction which has endeared its ideal to readers. The dining room was sultry, and abounded with the flies which love stables of the olden times, or indeed of any date. We sat by our baggage in an outer room till a carriage could be called, and then we drove back to the station, through the long, hot, dusty street by which we had come, with a poorish, stunted type of work-people crowding it on the way home to supper.

Somewhere in the offing we were aware of cathedral roofs and towers, and we were destined later to a pleasanter impression of Worcester than that from which we now gladly fled by the first train for Great Malvern. Our refuge was only an hour away, and it duly received us in a vast, modern hotel, odorous only of a surrounding garden into which a soft rain was already beginning to fall. A slow, safe elevator, manned by the very oldest and heaviest official in full uniform whom I have ever seen in the like charge, mounted with us to upper chambers, where we knew no more till we awoke in the morning to find the face of nature washed clean by that gentle rain, and her breath fresh and sweet, coming from the grateful lips of the myriad flowers which embloom most English towns.

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I may as well note at once that it was not a bracing air which we inhaled from them, and I do not suppose that the air is any more an adjunct of the healing waters at Great Malvern than the air at Carlsbad, for instance,

where it is notoriously relaxing. The companionable office-lady at our hotel, who was also a sort of ladybutler, and carved the cold meats, candidly owned that the air at Great Malvern was lifeless, and she boldly regretted the two years she had passed in New England, as matron of a boys' reformatory. She said, quite in the teeth of an English couple paying their bill at the same time, that she was only living to get back there. They took her impatriotism with a large imperial allowance; and I shall always be sorry I did not ask them what kind of bird it was they had with them in a cage; I think they would have told me willingly, and even gladly, before they drove away.

We were ourselves driving away in search of lodgings, which, whether you like them or not after you find them, it is always so interesting to look up in England. It was our fate commonly to visit places in their season when lodgings were scarce and dear; and it was one of the surprises that Great Malvern had in store for us that it was in the very height of its season. We should never have thought it, but for the assurance of the lodging-house landladies, who united in saying so, and in asking twice their fee as an earnest of good faith. The charming streets, which were not only laterally but vertically irregular, and curved and rose and fell in every direction, were so far from thronged that we were often the only people in them besides the unoccupied drivers of other flies than ours, and the boys who had pony chairs for hire, and demanded height-of-the-season prices for them. Perhaps the fellow-visitors whom we missed from the street were thronging in-doors: the hotels were full up; the boarding-houses could offer only a choice of inferior rooms; the lodgings had nearly all been taken at the rates which astonished if they did not

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