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that hung about it. It used to be opened
in the glorious old assize times during
the reign of Legitimacy. It was sometimes
taken by wandering monologue gentlemen
and ladies, fragments of whose dreary self-
emblazonment clung to lone walls long
after "Harry Newcombe" and his diverting
"Bandbox of Oddities," comprising Men,
Manners, and Modes, had passed on to
another town. But no one went to see the
"oddities." A few letters, a torn " BANDB,"
flapped and dripped in rain and wind for
extraordinary periodsdismal reminder
like the agitation of some bird with a broken
wing making an effort to escape. Sometimes
a performing lady came by with her
spring cart, on which was emblazoned her
name in gold—"LILLIE KNOWLES' Mirthful
Medley," which drove away in the morning,
after receipt of five or six shillings and
disbursement of forty or fifty. Sometimes
a "CIRCUS" made its triumphant entry, in
all the splendour of that dispiriting
spectaclethe sickly ladies in coloured habits,
and the old-looking men in pink fleshings,
and, what the clergyman pronounced "a
disgusting and degrading spectacle," the
Shakespearean clown, in his full
professional dress, bringing up the rear in a
perambulator drawn by two donkeys. The
tent was pitched on the corner of the
common, and very often remained for two
nights, so attractive was the entertainment.

But the real monument of the old
Tilston glory, was the Barracksthe cavalry
barracks, which the local paper had often
daringly said were "the finest in the kingdom."
This was certainly a flight; and
latterly they had taken the appearance
of a disused sugar refinerythe panes
shattered with extraordinary regularity;
the roof out of shape, and generally astray,
and its front all scarred and battered as
if it had stood a fire of musketry. The
town had felt acutely the slight of the
withdrawal of the troops from the place
nearly twenty years before. The sting
was the transfer of these protectors to
the juvenile town. The decay of the
place, so far as it was admitted, was
attributed to this fatal act of oppression.
"Ah, the time we had the soldiers here,"
was often repeated fondly. At every election,
when Sir Harry came before his
constituents, some elector for Tilston was
certain to stand forward and ask, "Will you,
Sir Harry, press upon the government the
necessity of sending a regiment to Tilston?"
On which the candidate would
solemnly declare that his best exertions,
day and night, would be devoted to that
restoration, and he had reason to believe
that, if they were united and pulled
together, their exertions would be crowned
with success. The "barrack question" was
renewed again and again; it was a scandal,
a shame; but meanwhile it seemed likely
that by the time the barrack question would
be resolved favourably, the barracks themselves
would have crumbled away out of
existence. Deputations were always going
to town about the barracks, and always
came back as they went.


ALL this pleasant district, ripe, rich, and
green, was spread out in gently rolling
waves of a luxurious soil, about the noble
demesne of Leadersfort. The town was
indeed built on Leadersfort land, and
the great fortress-like gateway, rather
too ambitious even for the imposing
mansion, rose at the entrance of the main
street, and spoke out plainly the
seigneural pretensions. The drive up the avenue
was over a mile long, and the visitor
bowling along that smooth track, which
wound in the most wanton curves, saw
something like a grand prairie spreading
away on both sides, with grand trees,
stragglers or in groups, frightened herds
of deer rushing wildly off, and scattered
oxen feeding, solitary as anchorites. Far off,
was a crowded clustering of thicker trees,
denser shade, and the snowy shoulder, as it
were, of the house, carelessly revealed.

Old people were fond of talking of the
times of the late Sir Harry, when, during
the hunting season, that lawn would be
lit up by the cheerful blaze of fifty red
coats, when the ground seemed alive with
the animated tails of hounds. In those
old times, too, was the unbounded
hospitality of Sir Harry, when forty sat down
to dinner twice in the week, and six
times in the year the old bedrooms had
each their tenant, and there was the ball,
the dance, the uproarious singing. Sir
Harry was a bachelor, and had quarrelled
with his Indian brother, General Leader,
resenting furiously some rebukes given to
him as to the wild scenes and revelling
which was bringing Leadersfort into
notoriety. Turned out of the old house, this
Robert Leader obtained a commission in
the Indian service, and in the full blush of
the old nabob days, and their legal booty,
soon became rich. As he grew old, the
squire's tastes never abated; the Leadersfort
covers kept up their reputation, and