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My Father and Mother




"WHAT did you mean," asked my matter-offact friend," when you spoke of the spell of England? England has no spell. I can imagine the spell of Greece, or the spell of Venice, or any of those romantic places, but England!" "And yet you have been in England,” I ventured.

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"Yes, and that is why I cannot imagine what you mean," replied my friend.



Perhaps," I said, you did not notice the spell of England because there are so many different forms in which it manifests itself."


"So many?"

"Yes. What do you call a spell, anyway?" With a puzzled expression, my friend replied, Why, I never thought, exactly. You can't describe it. It just thrills you, and you don't know why. I think it has something to do with a place being very foreign."

"But every place is foreign to some other place," I objected, laughing. "Don't look so worried. Did it ever occur to you to notice

your feelings in driving along a particularly beautiful Devonshire lane, or crossing a wild pass in the Welsh hills? Don't you experience a thrill when you stand in Westminster Abbey and look at the misty vault above you just as the dusk is stealing on? Did you get no thrill in the little church at Stratford, when you realized that Shakespeare lay beneath that small grey stone?"

"I am a Baconian," replied my friend, loftily.

"Then we will omit Stratford," I replied quickly. "You would certainly miss Stratford. Stop and think how you felt in some old Cotswold town, with its little stone houses rising like natural creations from the earth, embodying the poetry and charm of the simple living for hundreds of years of those naïve, delightful folk who tilled the soil and played their games in rustic light-heartedness?"

"I never was in a Cotswold town."


Well, then, have you followed the legend of King Arthur and his knights, in Tintagel, and in Glastonbury; and have you considered the pixies, and fairies, and gnomes, who can gather around you in a cool shady grove when you allow that most potent of all spells, the spell of legend, to surround you?”’

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"Of course, I have read fairy tales," answered the cynic, "when I was a child."

"Well, it's high time you read some now," I continued, " and I think I will see what I can do to make you feel a few of the spells that invest this dear old island. I want you and every one else who hears me to believe in the reality and constancy of the spell of England. It is not operatic, and it is not sensational. But any one who stands, for instance, by the side of the sedgy moat at Baddesley Clinton, that venerable moated grange which Shakespeare had in mind when he wrote of the sorrowing Marianna; or any one who gazes from the bold summit of sea-cliff where stands Harlech Castle, and remembers those gallant warriors who went forth from those stern walls and inspired by their deeds the stirring March of the Men of Harlech, knows that there is an atmosphere of romance about these places. And who could pass without a sympathetic smile by Banbury Cross, which has amused us in our youth? Who could take a train to St. Ives without recalling the " men, cats, and wives," associated with that journey? Even "waiting for the train at Coventry conjures up a charming vision. I am more and more convinced that I ought to draw some little pictures which will illustrate


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