Page:The farm labourer in 1872.djvu/23

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THE FARM LABOURER IN 1872.

the case where the cottages are scattered and not grouped together in villages; but there are many more districts where the garden attached to a cottage is miserably insufficient. Now it is in the power of every landlord and every farmer to remedy this state of things, at no perceptible loss to himself by letting off in portions, of say one-quarter of an acre, some field or part of a field. It has practically been done in many counties in England, and wherever judiciously managed it has been found to work well, and the plot of ground has come to be highly prized by the labourers. The rent paid is considerably higher than the farmer can afford, and experience shows that they are willing to pay even an exorbitant rent for land at an inconvenient distance, so greatly do they prize the advantage.

Some approach to such an arrangement is made in many places by a grant of potato ground, cultivated by and rented from the farmer; but this is in no wise equal to the allotment on which a labourer can work and invest his spare time, coming by degrees to take a permanent personal interest in it. The produce of the ground, generally potatoes and grain, makes a considerable addition to his income, but the human aspect of the system and the contentment produced, with the attachment and interest in the soil, in what is most striking in the result, and the time snatched perhaps from the public-house and the zeal and care called forth in the labourer