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“Upon the midlands now the industrious muse doth fall,
The shires which we the heart of England well may call.
My native country thou, which so brave spirits hast bred,
DRAYTON : Polyolbion.
AUTHOR OF 'ADAM BEDE,' ETC.
IN TWO VOLUMES
WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS
EDINBURGH AND LONDON
The Right of Translation is reserved
F E L I X H O L T,
THE RADICA L.
FIVE-AND-THIRTY years ago the glory had not yet departed from the old coach-roads: the great roadside inns were still brilliant with well-polished tankards, the smiling glances of pretty barmaids, and the repartees of jocose ostlers; the mail still announced itself by the merry notes of the horn; the hedgecutter or the rick-thatcher might still know the exact hour by the unfailing yet otherwise meteoric apparition of the pea-green Tally-ho or the yellow Independent; and elderly gentlemen in pony-chaises, quartering nervously to make way for the rolling swinging swiftness, had not ceased to remark that times were finely changed since they used to see the pack-horses and hear the tinkling of their bells on this very highway.
In those days there were pocket boroughs, a Birmingham unrepresented in Parliament and compelled VOL. I. 22