MANSFIELD, or, as it was anciently called, Maunsefeld, is one of those quaint, delightful little towns which wearied men and women, satiated with the hurry scurry of the ordinary holiday resort, love to stumble across; one of those charming spots where absolute rest can be obtained, and where the cankering care of the busy world may be cast aside for a season. Within hearing of the rumble and bustle of the everyday world, busy with its schemes of ambition and money-making, it is, nevertheless, isolated, as it were, from all that distracts and worries. Surrounded by all that is lovely in Nature, untouched by the desecrating hand of so-called Art, it possesses charms that only those well acquainted with the district are conscious of; and even some of those are unaware of how much beauty exists at their very doors. Within easy reach it has every requirement for a popular holiday resort, where health and pleasure is the first desire.

Mansfield is picturesque to a degree in its sylvan beauty, and the show places around are known all the world over. Who has not heard of the Dukeries and Newstead Abbey; of Hucknall Torkard, where lies the revered dust of the wild, impassioned Byron; of Annesley, the home of Byron's Mary?

To his eye There was but one beloved face on earth, And that was shining on him; he had look'd Upon it till it could not pass away; He had no breath, no being, but in hers; She was his voice; he did not speak to her, But trembled on her words; she was his sight, But his eye follow'd hers, and saw with hers, Which coloured all his objects.

Who has not heard of Rufford Abbey, of Clumber, of princely Hardwick? and, lastly, who has not heard of Sherwood Forest, the scene of the doings of Robin Hood and his merry men? All these places, and more, are within a short radius of Mansfield. Each stroll outside the town unveils some new beauty, discovers some lovely view, some mossy dell or murmuring brook which would delight the eye of an artist and arouse the imagination of a poet, but to which matter-of-fact prose cannot do anything like justice.

Walking about the district, one feels there is something in the pleasures of the country that reaches much beyond the mere gratification of the eye—a something that invigorates and renews the mind, that revives its hopes, that allays its perturbations, that mellows its affections; and it will often be found that our happiest schemes and wisest resolutions are formed under the mild influence of a country scene and the soft obscurities of rural refinement. Here would one exclaim :—

Grant me, Heav'n, to end my peaceful days,
And steal myself from life by slow decays;
With age unknown, to pain or sorrow blest.

North, south, east, or west of Mansfield it is all the same. There is beauty, beauty everywhere. If the wearied body needs solitude, it is close at hand, where Nature speaks more audibly to the heart than the impassioned eloquence of human lips. In the deep stillness of one of the thick woods, on the quiet bank of a murmuring brook, where can be felt the littleness and greatness of human nature ; here can be forgotten the distracting cares and empty joys of the world; and here will be found room within for gratification, and devotion, and hope that looks on high. As Johnson very eloquently says, a man finds in the productions of Nature an inexhaustible stock of material upon which he can employ himself without any temptation to envy or malevolence; and has always a certain prospect of discovering new reasons for adoring the Sovereign Author of the universe.

But Mansfield has a still greater charm. Situated on a sandy soil, it is eminently healthy; and when the death-rate elsewhere is high, here it is low. The climate is salubrious; such, indeed, as is calculated to give a new lease of life to those broken down in health and spirits. No longer does the Forest of Shirewood extend to the streets of this ancient town; no longer is the winding of the horn and the baying of the hounds to be heard; but there are still woods near at hand where,

If thou art worn and hard beset
With sorrows that thou wouldst forget,
If thou wouldst read a lesson that will keep
Thy heart from fainting and thy soul from sleep,
thou mayest go, for there no tears dim the sweet look that Nature wears.

I may have laid myself open to a charge of enthusiasm on the merits and beauties of Mansfield; but I am only expressing the sentiments that are roused within me as to the result of an acquaintance sufficiently long to enable me to derive benefit in both mind and body. Hence it is I feel inspired to write this little history.