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THERE is no country in the world so famous for its cottages as England, the land of our forefathers. On the continent of Europe, the labouring people of the country live very much in villages, and sometimes many families are huddled together under the same roof; neither have they commonly that taste for neatness and ornament which distinguishes the English cottage. Much of the comfort and some of the morality of Great Britain are undoubtedly owing to the care which the country people bestow upon their houses.
As I am about to relate some incidents concerning a country family in England, it will be proper to give some account of the cottage in which they lived. And now you must not think of a snug little building, covered with shingles, with the boards of a glossy white, and green window shutters. The cottage of which I speak looks as if it had been built two hundred years ago. It is however composed of two parts, and one of these is much older than the other. Both are built of stone, and plaistered over in the manner which we call rough-casting; and both are covered with a strawthatch of great thickness. The gable-ends are almost hidden by the ivy, and creepers run up to the tops of the chimneys. The windows are almost square, and are not sashes, but casements, that is, they open like doors. The shrubbery around the doors is old and stout, but well-trimmed ; and the vines and bushes give shelter to scores of sparrows and other little birds, which have their nests among the branches.
So much for the outside, let us now look at the inside of the house. It looks very dark and smoky to an American eye, for their principal room has only one window, and shows neither paint nor whitewash. The immense fireplace extends all across one end of the house, and there are stone seats built into the chimney corner. The mantel is almost as high as the top of the room. A great staircase like a ladder goes to the loft above. There is no ceiling, and the joist are used for shelves, or to hang a saddle or a flitch on. Still there is a great appearance of warmth, cleanliness, and convenience. Every thing looks snug and comfortable. This room is kitchen, diningroom and parlour, all in one. In such apartments