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Heartiness, open dealing, and hospitality of country people
Farmer Bloomfield and Broomy Court—The great kitchenThe best parlour-Ruth Bloomfield's bed-room--The hour of
prayer. “How shall I manage, Edwin, to draw a picture; for I have not one bit of paper ?”
“Oh, you will manage very well, father. I wish I could draw with paper as well as you can without it.”
“ Yes; but do you see that I have no pencil ?”
“ You do not want a pencil ; for you
said that you liked those pictures best which were drawn without a pencil. Will you please to draw me a picture of a farm-house?”
“A farm-house! Why, that is the very picture I intended to draw. In my youthful days I passed many a happy season in the country; sometimes at one farm-house, and sometimes at another. The times are much changed now; but there is still among country people a heartiness, an open dealing, and a hospitality seldom to be found in towns and cities. My picture shall now be drawn. Is that farmer Bloomfield yonder, in his buff waistcoat and brown coat? Ay, that it is; and he is on his way home to Broomy Court, a comfortable old-fashioned farm-house, with its rick-yard, hay-stacks, and pigeon-house. God is worshipped in all simplicity and sincerity at Broomy Court, and the Redeemer heartily loved and praised. I wish I could say this of every farm-house in England-yes, and of every farm-house in the world. The great kitchen has not a wood fire on the hearth, as in old times, but a coal fire in a low grate: a great fire it is, and well it may be, to cook all the victuals for so large a farm. The great oak table there has borne some heavy loads of beef and mutton in its time; and look at the pewter plates and large dishes on the shelves over the dresser, as clean as they can be kept, and as bright as rubbing can make them. The wooden cratch at the ceiling seems ready to break down with bacon flitches, and hams, and dried tongues. I wish every poor man's cottage had in it a Bible and a flitch of bacon—food for the soul and the body. The great kitchen is now a busy scene, for Betty is busy in it at the oven,
it being baking day; Sally is crossing it to the dairy, with a pail of milk on her head; a tailor is at work, sitting cross-legged on the oaken table; two of the farming men are come in with their wooden bottles; the shepherd, with his crook in his hand and his shaggy dog beside him, is talking with farmer Bloomfield; and the farmer has just put his
foot on the blazing log on the fire, and hundreds of sparkles are flaring up the chimney."
“ Very good, indeed; everything is as plain to me as if drawn on paper.
What a blaze farmer Bloomfield made with his foot! I will be bound for it that it made his face shine again."
“The best parlour, like the best bed, is seldom used, and has therefore a solitary appearance; let me, however, give a sketch of
It is wainscotted all round: over the chimney-piece is a fine specimen of carving, and in the high cupboard are curious old porcelain ornaments and figures, with small china cups and saucers, once the property of Mrs. Bloomfield's grandmother. The bay window, up which the ivy climbs, has a painted pane of glass in it; in the recess, the floor is raised higher than the other part of the room, and round the walls are hung family portraits. The lady in the stomacher there, over the door, is the likeness of the farmer's great-aunt: she was well known for her benevolence and piety, and her last words were, 'Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in
have seen thy salvation.
The picture of the best parlour is a very good one; and I can fancy myself in Broomy Court, going from one room to another.” “The farmer's daughter is named Ruth, after her grandmother. She is a simpleminded, industrious creature, and is now helping her mother in the dairy. Let us peep, for a moment, into her bed-room. It is a neat little chamber, with a lattice window. The coverlet and dimity bed-curtains are white as snow. Near the window is a bookshelf, and
neat volumes on it. Over the chimney-piece hangs a small print of the child Samuel at prayer, and on the wall opposite the window are two pictures in plain black frames. The one is Ruth earnestly addressing her mother-in-law Naomi: 'Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge : thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried : the Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me,' Ruth i. 16, 17. The other picture is that of Boaz in the cornfield, directing the reapers to let Ruth glean in the fields : Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not: and let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not,
"" Ruth ii. 15, 16. “I can see Ruth Bloomfield's bed-room, and the books and the prints, and the two pictures.”