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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

big-buttressed square tower, was protectively per-
manent. One could visualize it there for the last 599
years, measuring out the unambitious local chronology
with its bells, while English history unrolled itself
along the horizon with coronations and rebellions and
stubbornly disputed charters and covenants. Beyond
all that, the "foreign parts" of the world widened in-
credibly toward regions reported by travellers' tales.
And so outward to the windy universe of astronomers
and theologians. Looking up at the battlemented
tower, I improvised a clear picture of some morning
—was it in the seventeenth century? Men in steeple-
crowned hats were surveying a rudimentary-looking
landscape with anxious faces, for trouble was afoot
and there was talk of the King's enemies. But the in-
surgence always passed by. It had never been more
than a rumour for Butley, whether it was Richard of
Gloucester or Charles the First who happened to be
losing his kingdom. It was difficult to imagine that
Butley had contributed many soldiers for the Civil
Wars, or even for Marlborough and Wellington, or
that the village carpenter of those days had lost both
his sons in Flanders. Between the church door and
the lych gate the plump yews were catching the
rays of evening. Along that path the coffined genera-
tions had paced with sober church-going faces. There
they had stood in circumspect groups to exchange
local gossip and discuss the uncertainly reported
events of the outside world. They were a long way off
now, I thought—their names undecipherable on
tilted headstones or humbly oblivioned beneath green
mounds. For the few who could afford a permanent
memorial, their remoteness from posterity became
less as the names became more legible, until one ar-
rived at those who had watched the old timbered inn

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