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( 401 ) :
( 401 ) :
Lytii.—A Village Sketch.. -*»-
LYTII . —A VILLAGE SKETCH . . - _*» -
It Is Most Provable That The Reader Has ...
It is most _provable that the reader has never turned aside to visit the pleasant village of Benniworth . I say turned aside , for
nobody ever goes there who does not go on purpose . The village seems to have got out of the way as if preferring not to have remarks
passed upon it , for so long ago as half a century , pompous men looked down from the height of the old oscillating coaches , and , if
the leafless trees permitted a glimpse of the roofs , would designate it a decayed hamlet ! The designation is unjust . Never did a group
of habitations more successfully resist decay than that in whose midst stands the dwelling in which I first saw daylight , or
candlelight perhaps it was , I forget just now . Benniworth wets in its prime in the days of our good Elizabeth .
Then merrie faces looked out from those thatch-hooded windows that glisten in the roofs , and held quaint discourse _^ with passing swains
while the gammer gave mete attendaunce in y butterie , or strove with oddly "habited yearlingswho , I suppose , had a preference for
unrestrained liberty and uncooked , thumb as now and from the beginning . Now as it is insisted that one essential attribute of enjoyable
writing is clearness , I beg distinctly to advertise that I had not a being , and perhaps had not been _thong-ht of , when she of famous
memory swayed the sceptre of these realms . I never saw half the people whose dust has raised a mound about the ancient church ,
never saw the venerable dames with kerchiefed chins , wending to worshipor the maidens with petticoats so saucily tucked up behind :
but there , is a distinct tof interestI had almost said relationshi subsisting between the ype dwellers in these , sequestered villages . There p ,
is an echo awakened by legend and story , second only in interest to that which memory evokes .
The first specimen submitted to my youthful contemplation by the genius of fashion was—let me see , —imagine a pair of tongs with
gown made to figure , let imagination also suj ) ply scarf and bonnet . Naymy sisteryou who observe the mode in this new year of grace
suppress , that smile , , for are not all sensible men laughing at you ? , Hopeless as the acquisition of the philosopher ' s stone , difficult as the
discernment of that occult law by which perpetual motion may be regulated and sustained , futile as have hitherto been all attempts to
square the circle must be the effort to reconcile fashion and common sense .
And we are _degenerating . Is it not so ? Place simple , regal Mary Stuart beside Eugenie , and let any man accord the palm of grace .
But remark is useless . Expostulation , caricature , nay , the sacrifice of human life itselffails as a counterpoise to fashion . But I am
getting angry . We , will return to Benniworth .
I should like to have seen those quaint forms hi the sixteenth
English Woman’s Journal (1858-1864), Feb. 1, 1860, page 401, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/ewj/issues/ewj_01021860/page/41/