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THE VICAR OF WREXHILL
     

THE VICAR OF WREXHILL

by FRANCES TROLLOPE
 
CHAPTER I.

THE VILLAGE OF WREXHILL.--THE MOWBRAY FAMILY.--A BIRTHDAY.


The beauties of an English village have been so often dwelt upon, so
often described, that I dare not linger long upon the sketch of
Wrexhill, which must of necessity precede my introduction of its vicar.
And yet not even England can show many points of greater

Overview

CHAPTER I.

THE VILLAGE OF WREXHILL.--THE MOWBRAY FAMILY.--A BIRTHDAY.


The beauties of an English village have been so often dwelt upon, so
often described, that I dare not linger long upon the sketch of
Wrexhill, which must of necessity precede my introduction of its vicar.
And yet not even England can show many points of greater beauty than
this oak-sheltered spot can display. Its peculiar style of scenery, half
garden, half forest in aspect, is familiar to all who are acquainted
with the New Forest, although it has features entirely its own. One of
these is an overshot mill, the sparkling fall of which is accurately and
most nobly overarched by a pair of oaks which have long been the glory
of the parish. Another is the grey and mellow beauty of its antique
church, itself unencumbered by ivy, while the wall and old stone gateway
of the churchyard look like a line and knot of sober green, enclosing it
with such a rich and unbroken luxuriance of foliage "never sear," as
seems to show that it is held sacred, and that no hand profane ever
ventured to rob its venerable mass of a leaf or a berry. Close beside
the church, and elevated by a very gentle ascent, stands the pretty
Vicarage, as if placed expressly to keep watch and ward over the safety
and repose of its sacred neighbour. The only breach in the ivy-bound
fence of the churchyard, is the little wicket gate that opens from the
Vicarage garden; but even this is arched over by the same immortal and
unfading green,--a fitting emblem of that eternity, the hope of which
emanates from the shrine it encircles. At this particular spot, indeed,
the growth of the plant is so vigorous, that it is controlled with
difficulty, and has not obeyed the hand which led it over the rustic
arch without dropping a straggling wreath or two, which if a vicar of
the nineteenth century could wear a wig, might leave him in the state
coveted for Absalom by his father. The late Vicar of Wrexhill,
however,--I speak of him who died a few weeks before my story
begins,--would never permit these graceful pendants to be shorn,
declaring that the attitude they enforced on entering the churchyard was
exactly such as befitted a Christian when passing the threshold of the
court of God.

Behind the Vicarage, and stretching down the side of the little hill on
which it stood, so as to form a beautiful background to the church, rose
a grove of lofty forest-trees, that seemed to belong to its garden, but
which in fact was separated from it by the road which led to Mowbray
Park, on the outskirts of which noble domain they were situated. This
same road, having passed behind the church and Vicarage, led to the
village street of Wrexhill, and thence, towards various other parishes,
over a common, studded with oaks and holly-bushes, on one side of which,
with shelving grassy banks that gave to the scene the appearance of
noble pleasure-grounds, was a sheet of water large enough to be
dignified by the appellation of Wrexhill Lake. Into this, the little
stream that turned the mill emptied itself, after meandering very
prettily through Mowbray Park, where, by the help of a little artifice,
it became wide enough at one spot to deserve a boat and boat-house, and
at another to give occasion for the erection of one of the most graceful
park-bridges in the county of Hampshire.

On one side of the common stands what might be called an alehouse, did
not the exquisite neatness of every feature belonging to the little
establishment render this vulgar appellation inappropriate. It was in
truth just such a place as a town-worn and fastidious invalid might have
fixed his eyes upon and said, "How I should like to lodge in that house
for a week or two!" Roses and honeysuckles battled together for space to
display themselves over the porch, and above the windows. The little
enclosure on each side the post whence swung the "Mowbray Arms"
presented to the little bay windows of the mansion such a collection of
odorous plants, without a single weed to rob them of their strength,
that no lady in the land, let her flower-garden be what it may, but
would allow that Sally Freeman, the daughter, bar-maid, waiter, gardener
at the "Mowbray Arms," understood how to manage common flowers as well
as any Scotchman in her own scientific establishment.

Product Details

BN ID:
2940012865359
Publisher:
SAP
Publication date:
03/13/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
446 KB

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