22 APRIL 1905, Page 14


r To TIM EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR."] Sza,—As a constant subscriber, I have been reading in the Spectator of April 8th your review of this book, and I much hope you may find the following idyll of village life worthy of record. I am the owner of a small public- house on a high-road in East Anglia, about half-a-mile from the village. The family consisted formerly of the publican (who looked after the land) and his wife and two grand- children, a girl and a boy. The girl was lame, one leg being so deformed that she had to wear an iron support, and could hardly walk abroad ; but she served the customers, and with assistance did the work of the house. At eighteen she became engaged to a farm labourer who lived about a mile off. When the publican died a good many years ago, the isolated position of the house made the three women and the boy (who was quite young) afraid to sleep by themselves, and it was eventually arranged that the labourer should- go up there to

sleep and to take care of the premises. The girl declined to marry during the lifetime of her grandmother, who had brought her up, but eventually she was released from her trust, and after a twenty years' engagement she was married at the age of thirty-eight. It was alleged that the labourer had walked as far as to India and back in performing the task of guardian which he bad undertaken. After a year or two of married life, during which remarks were made to the wife in the village similar in spirit to Sa,rai's reflections upon herself, a baby was born, but born dead, to the intense disappointment of the mother. Last February a second child, a girl, was born to her in her forty-third year, and husband and wife are now as proud and happy as it is possible for parents to be. They are both plain people, quite uneducated, and they lay claim to no sort of superior virtue; but could such constancy, continence, fidelity, and steadfastness be surpassed P—I am, Sir, &c., A SQUIREEN.