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THE CHIMNEY CORNER.

THE TWO LANDLORDS.

{From the Agricultural Gazette.') chapter ii.— Continued, « Then,” said Mr. Goodhope, “ a landlord cannot be called on to pay for exceptional buildings. But if a Bakewell should appear among us, we will make him welcome, and treat him well; and if the worst comes to the worst and we don’t do him justice, he can shelter his sheep in home-built sheds. There is a very clever young fellow in the village, James Miles, the son of the wheelwright. If Bakewell cannot build a sheepshed, for almost nothing Miles will show him how.” “Do you not think, sir, that the law as to the removal of buildings by the tenant is wrong?” “ I think all laws are wrong that favor the landlord ; but as John Bull is slow at Reform we shall probably wait twenty or thirty years for this repeal. Anything more about unexhausted improvements, Mr. Lambert ? ” “ Yes, sir; the land is in a foul state, and if it be left clean at the end of our respective terms, the cost of the improvement should be allowed.” “I have walked over every field, and I find that yours is the foulest farm, Mr. Frost. It is as bad as it can be. You intend to have a lease, I hear. At the end of it how much would you expect, besides the customary [tillages, for leaving the land clean.” Ss Upon my word, sir,” said Mr. Frost, “ I don’t know as I could tell you what I should expect, but I should like to get all I could.” “ Quite right, Mr. Frost, Would L2 an acre for every acre left clean satisfy you ? ” “ Tithing Farm is 300 acres,” said the future tenant. Do you mean L6OO free for nothing besides tillages ? ” “ That is what I mean. Gentlemen, we landlords have got the whip hand over our tenants in these brisk times, and we can make our own terms; but suppose the times were bad, and I, Mr. Frost, were more at your mercy than I am now, you would not ask for compensation for couch at the expiration of your lease, but at the commencement. Our friend, Mr. Lambert, with his theories has put us on the wrong scent.” " So he has, sir,” said Mr. Frost with a jovial grin on his broad face. “We ought to settle for the couch now, sir, and not twenty-one years hence. ‘ A bird in the hand’s worth two in the bush. ’ ” “I am entirely against the principle of piling up a bill for the incoming tenant to pay,” said Mr. Goodhope, “ and I wil act the same as if we were on level terms. I will help you make your bargains, gentlemen. That is the honest policy, and may be the best in the long run. If bad times overtake us, they shall find this estate well equipped, the rents ten screws at least below the topmost, and the tenants (let ua hope) well balanced at the bankers.” “Your theory of estate management, Sir, could not possibly be sounder,” said Mr. Lambert, “so far as I understand si”

u How about the couch, sir ? ” said Mr, Frost, “you spoke of ready payment 1 ” “ Yes, L2 twenty-one years hence, would not be half so good at 5 per cent, compound Interest, as LI now.” “Nothing like so good, sir,” said Mr. Frost, with his broadest smile. “ I will pay LI an acre for the couch now, and we will have a memorandum that such a payment has been made, the fatm being foul, and that the money should be returned with compound interest, at the expiration of the lease, unless the .land be left in a clean, husbandlike condition, the point to be arranged by arbitration, the arbitrators being you and mo, or our representatives, and an umpire to be appointed who knows the land. It will never do to leave these settlements to the lawyers, gentlemen. , “lam much obliged to you, sir,” said Mr. Frost. “Can’t you think of some more unexhausted improvements, Mr. Lambert, to be paid for beforehand ? ” “In regard to ‘ condition 1 ’ Mr. Goodhope. The land is in poor ‘condition.’ Suppose it be left full of manure ? ” “In the case of an expiring lease, that is not likely,” said Mr. Goodhope, “ nor, bn the other hand, are practical and shrewd men likely to try the experiment of running the land out and burning their fingers 'in the operation. Gentlemen of the cabinet council, we must legislate for average cases, we cannot legislate for exceptions. Can you propose a better scheme than this ?—the land being out of heart, the crop of straw you will presently take will be small, and by the custom o; the country it should be valued to you al|\ fodder price. Suppose you take it at a market price, paying the difference into my pocket. The operation will not enrich me much, and at quitting you will reap the benefit, if your crops have become bulky through Mgh farming.” “ I think I may say we are all perfectly satisfied,” said Mr. Lambert. “ I see, sir, that you are proceeding on principle. ” “ And its a principle,” said Mr. Frost, “which I like uncommonly, and I’m darned if your plans ain’t right, too, between man and man,” and Mr. Frost slapped his band fiat down upon his big leg. “If all the world was honest, sir,” he said, looking straight into the squire’s face, “ and if each helped t’other, instead of trying to get the better of him, we should prosper more all round, and make our fortunes quicker.” The “council” then arranged payments for the unexhausted value of feeding stuffs and manures in the last years of the tenancy. Such arrangements were novel then, they are not so much so now as to require discussion and description here. “Andjnow,” said Mr. Goodhope, “I have some unexhausted improvements to claim. I will tell you what will happen. A railway will come up this valley, to .connect the coast and London, within five years, and there will be a station at Compton. You will then send your produce to and perhaps turn your land into market gardens worth LlO an acre.” “ If you have no objection, sir,” said Mr. Frost, “ we will pay for the railroad ;at the end of the lease instead of the beginning.” “I suppose,” said the squire, “I must consider the railway, when it comes, as a gift of the country to my tenants, ”

Those six applicants hired between them 2000 acres, and the rest of the estate (about 3000 acres more) was let in farms of from 150 to 300 acres, besides a dozen plots of from 20 to 50 acres, which were held provisionally by the nearest occupier in reserve for deserving men. The abominable nest of gardenless cottages in the village, called the Oxyard, was pulled down, and the new cottages were distributed over the farms, a little nearer to the work and farther from the Bull. Mrs. Thomback lost her trade, and William Root brewed an excellent mixture of malt and hops at home. Mr. Qoodhope worked at the improvements with heart and soul. Many a walk ha and his council took over the land together, and most admirable and economical were the results of their collective judgment. Playing at estate management, or shirking it as agents may. sometimes do, are quite different things from the “statesman-like” method. The energy of Squire Goodhope created energy in all concerned and ensured success. Changes affecting individuals ivere avoided as far as possible. Fortunately several fa? ms were already on the market when the estqte was sold. Three or four werelhsld by neighboring farmers and speculators at a low price who

were glad to be riu of them, having had their fingers badly bitten by the rabbits. Some were on hand, others were held by old fellows who retired in favor of energetic sons, so that the number of “evicted” tenants, to use the harshest term, was small. Numerous other changes there were, no doubt, but Mr. Goodhope was a consummate tactician, and his changes were not only advantageous, but they were made to seem iuevitabable ! Who could regret the Oxyard 1 Who could complain of the big gardens (from a quarter to half an acre) tacked on to the new cottages, and taken off the farms before they were let ?

But of Mr. Gooclliope’s plans for improving the condition of the laborers (or rather, for enabling them to improve it for themselves) —piece-work payments, allotment grounds, village ready-money shops, cow plots, and the rest of them—we must let him speak elsewhere. For conclusion, see Supplement,

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18800527.2.17

Bibliographic details

THE CHIMNEY CORNER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 105, 27 May 1880

Word Count
1,448

THE CHIMNEY CORNER. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 105, 27 May 1880

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