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ENGLAND AND ITS PEOPLE.
BY HUGH MILLER,
AUTHOR OF THE OLD RED SANDSTONE,' ETC. ETC.
* Do you not think a man may be the wiser (I had almost said the better)
for going a hundred or two of miles ?'-Gray's LETTERS.
TO THE READER.
TIMES have changed since our earlier British Novelists, when they sought to make the incidents lie thick in their fictions, gave them the form of a journey, and sent their heroes a travelling over England. The one-half of “Tom Jones,” two-thirds of “ Joseph Andrews,” not a few of the most amusing chapters in “ Roderick Random” and “ Launcelot Greaves,” and the whole of “Humphrey Clinker," are thrown into this form. They are works of English travels ; and the adventures with which they are enlivened arise by the wayside.
It would be rather a difficult matter in these later times to make a novel out of an English tour. The country, measured by day's journeys, has grown nine-tenths smaller than it was in the times of Fielding and Smollett. The law has become too strong for Captain Macheath the highwayman, and the public too knowing for Mr. Jenkinson the swindler. The journeyer by moonlight, who accidentally loses his road, stumbles on no “Hermit of the Hill,” wrapped up in a grotesque dress of skins ; but merely encounters, instead, some suspicious gamekeeper, taking his night-rounds in behalf of the Squire's pheasants. When mill-dams give way during the rains, honest Mat Brambles