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A WALK 
FROM 

LONDON 

TO 

JOHN 
O' GROAT'S 




If reft crick 






*. 






n 



WALK FROM LONDON 



TO 



JOHN O'GROAT'S, 



NOTES BY THE WAY. 



ILLUSTRATED WITH PHOTOGRAPHIC PORTRAITS. 



ELIHU BUR 



TTT: 



SEEN BY 

PRESERVATION 

SERVICES, 



DATE. 



LONDON : 

SAMPSON LOW, SON & MARSTON, 

14, LUDGATE HILL, 

18G4. 
[The Right of Translation is Reserved."] 



Robinson and Wnitt, Printers, 6a, Dowgate Hill, Londou. 




PREFACE. 



In presenting this volume to the public, I feel that a 
few words of explanation are due to the readers that it 
may obtain, in addition to those oifered to them in the 
first chapter. When I first visited England, in 1846, it 
was my intention to make a pedestrian tour from one 
end of the island to the other, in order to become more 
thoroughly acquainted with the country and people 
than I could by any other mode of travelling. A few 
weeks after my arrival, I set out on such a walk, and 
had made about one hundred miles on foot, when I was 
constrained to suspend the tour, in order to take part in 
movements which soon absorbed all my time and strength. 
For the ensuing ten years I was nearly the whole time 
in Great Britain, travelling from one end of the king- 
dom to the other, to promote the movements referred to J 



IV. PREFACE. 

still desiring to accomplish the walk originally proposed. 
On returning to England at the beginning of 1863, 
after a continuous residence of seven years in America, 
I found myself, for the first time, in the condition to 
carry out my intention of 1846. Several new motives 
had been added in the interval to those that had at 
first operated upon my mind. I had dabbled a little in 
farming in my native village, New Britain, Connecti- 
cut, and had labored to excite additional interest in 
agriculture among my neighbors. We had formed an 
Agricultural Club, and met weekly for several winters 
to compare notes, exchange opinions and discuss matters 
connected with the occupation. They had honored me 
with the post of Corresponding Secretary from the 
beginning. "We held a meeting the evening before I 
left for England, when they not only refused to accept 
my resignation as Secretary, but made me promise to 
write them letters about fanning in the Mother Country, 
and on other matters of interest that I might meet with 
on my travels there. My first idea was to do this 
literally ; to make a walk through the best agricultural 
sections of England, and write home a series of coin- 



PREFACE. 



V. 



munications to be inserted in our little village paper. 
But, on second thought, on considering the size of the 
sheet, I found it would require four or five years to print 
in it all I was likely to write, at the rate of two columns 
a week. So I concluded that the easiest and quickest 
way would be to make a book of my Notes by the Way, 
and to send back to my old friends and neighbors in 
that form all the observations and incidents I might 
make and meet on my walk. The next thought that 
suggested itself was this, that a good many persons in 
Great Britain might feel some interest in seeing what 
an American who had resided so long in this country 
might have to say of its sceneries, industries, social life, 
&c. Still, in writing out these Notes, although two dis- 
tinct circles of readers the English and American 
have been present to my mind, I felt constrained to face 
and address the latter, just as if speaking to them alone. 
I have, moreover, adopted the free and easy style 
of epistolary composition, endeavoring to make each 
chapter as much like one of the letters I promised my 
friends and neighbors at home as practicable. In 
doing this, the "/" has, perhaps, talked far too much to 



VI. PREFACE. 

beseem those proprieties which the author of a book 
should observe. Besides, expressions, figures and ortho- 
graphy more American than English may be noticed, 
which will indicate the circle of readers which the writer 
had primarily in view. Still, he would fain believe that 
these features of the volume will not seriously affect the 
interest it might otherwise possess in the minds of those 
disposed to give it a reading in this country. Whatever 
exceptions they may take to the style and diction, I 
hope they will find none to the spirit of the work. 

ELIHU BURRITT. 

X/ondon, April oth, 
1864. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

PA8K. 

Motives to the "Walk The Iron Horse and his Rider The Losses 
and Gains by Speed The Railway Track and Turnpike Road : 
Their Sceneries Compared ....... 1 

CHAPTER II. 

First Day's Observations and Enjoyment Rural Foot-paths ; 
Visit to Tiptree Farm Alderman Mechi's Operations Im- 
provements Introduced, Decried and Adopted Steam Power, 
Under-Draining, Deep Tillage, Irrigation Practical Results 9 

CHAPTER III. 

English and American Birds The Lark and its Song . , .29 

' CHAPTER IV. 

Talk with an Old Man on the "Way Old Houses in England 
Their American Relationships English Hedges and Hedge- 
row Trees Their Probable Fate Change of Rural Scenery 
without them 48 

CHAPTER V. 

A Footpath "Walk and its Incidents Harvest Aspects English 
and American Skies Humbler Objects of Contemplation 
The Donkey : Its Uses and Abuses 63 

CHAPTER VL 

Hospitalities of "Friends" Harvest Aspects : English Country 
Inns ; their Appearance, Names and Distinctive Character- 
istics The Landlady, Waiter, Chambermaid and Boots 
Extra Fees and Extra Comforts ... ... 77 

CHAPTER VII. 

Light of Human Lives Photographs and Biograplis The late 

Jonas "Webb, his Life, Labors and Memory . . . .97 



CONTENTS. Vlll. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Threshing Machine Flower Show The Hollyhock and its Sug- 
gestions The Law of Co-operative Activities in Vegetable, 
Animal, Mental and Moral Life . . . . . .135 

CHAPTER IX. 

Visit to a Three-Thousand-Acre Farm Samuel Jonas His 
Agricultural Operations, their Extent, Success and General 
Economy 163 

CHAPTER X. 

Royston and its Specialities Entertainment in a Small Village 
St. Ives Visits to Adjoining Villages A Fen-Farm 
Capital Invested in English and American Agriculture Com- 
pared Allotments and Garden Tenantry Barley Grown on 
Oats 184 

CHAPTER XI. 

The Miller of Houghton An Hour in Huntingdon Old Houses 
Whitewashed Tapestry and Works of Art " The Old 
Mermaid" and " The Green Man" Talk with Agricultural 
Laborers Thoughts on their Condition, Prospects and 
Possibilities 206 

CHAPTER XII. 

Farm Game Hallet Wheat Oundle Country Bridges Fother- 
ingay Castle Queen Mary's Imprisonment and Execution 
Burghley House : The Park, Avenues, Elms and Oaks 
Thoughts on Trees, English and American .... 238 

CHAPTER XIII. 

Walk to Oakham The English and American Spring The Eng- 
lish Gentry A Specimen of the Class Melton Mowbray and 
its Specialities Belvoir Vale and its Beauty Thoughts on 
the Blind Painter 260 

CHAPTER XIV. 

Nottingham and its Characteristics Newstead Abbey Mansfield 
Talk in a Blacksmith's Shop Chesterfield, Chatsworth 
and Haddon Hall Aristocratio Civilization, Present and 
Past . 281 



CONTENTS. 



IX. 



CHAPTER XV. 

Sheffield and its Individuality The Country, Above Ground 
and Under Ground Wakefield and Leeds Wharf Vale 
Farnley Hall Harrowgate ; Ripley Castle ; Ripon ; Conser- 
vatism of Country Towns Fountain Abbey ; Studley Park 
Rievaulx Abbey Lord Faversham's Shorthorn Stock . 302 

CHAPTER XVI. 

Hexham The North Tyne Border-Land and its Suggestions 
Hawick Teviotdale Birth-place of Leyden Melrose and 
Dryburgh Abbeys Abbotsford : Sir Walter Scott ; Homage 
to his Genius The Ferry and the Oar-Girl New Farm 
Steddings Scenery of the Tweed Valley Edinburgh and 
its Characteristics . . . . . . . . .327 



CHAPTER XVII. 

Loch Leven Its Island Castle Straths Perth Salmon-breed- 
ing Thoughts on Fish-farming Dunkeld Blair Atholl 
Ducal Tree-planter Strathspey and its Scenery The Roads 
Scotch Cattle and Sheep Night in a Wayside Cottage 
Arrival at Inverness ........ 357 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

Inverness ; Ross-shire ; Tain ; Dornoch ; Golspie Progress of 
Railroads The Sutherland Eviction Sea-coast Scenery 
Caithness Wick Herring Fisheries John 0' Groat's : 
Walk's End 386 

CHAPTER XIX. 

Anthony Cruickshank The Greatest Herd of Shorthorns in the 

World Return to London and Termination of my Tour . 414 



PHOTOGRAPHS. 

PORTRAIT OF THE AUTHOR Frontispiece. 

PORTRAIT OF MR. ALDERMAN MECHI 9 

PORTRAIT OF THE LATE JONAS WEBB 104 

PORTRAIT OF SAMUEL JONAS 163 

PORTRAIT OF ANTHONY CRUICKSHANK . .414 



A Walk 
From London to John 'Groat 's. 



CHAPTER I. 

MOTIVES TO THE WALK. THE IRON HORSE AND HIS RIDER THE LOSSES 

AND GAINS BY SPEED THE RAILWAY TRACK AND TURNPIKE ROAD : 

THEIR SCENERIES COMPARED. 

ONE of my motives for making this tour was to 
look at the country towns and villages on the 
way in the face and eyes ; to enter them by the front 
door, and to see them as they were made to be seen 
first, as far as man's mind and hand intended and 
wrought. Eailway travelling, as yet, takes everything 
at a disadvantage ; it does not front on nature, or art, 
or the common conditions and industries of men in 
town or country. If it does not actually of itself turn, 
it presents everything the wrong side outward. In 
cities, it reveals the ragged and smutty companionship 
of tumble-down outhouses, and mysteries of cellar and 
bacXkitchen life which were never intended for other 
eyes than those that grope in them by day and night. 



2 A Walk from 

How unnatural, and, more, almost profane and inhuman, 
is the fiery locomotion of the Iron Horse through these 
densely-peopled towns ! now the screech, the roar, and 
the darkness of cavernous passages under paved streets, 
church vaults, and an acre or two of three story brick 
houses, with the feeling of a world of breathing, bust- 
ling humanity incumbent upon you ; now the dash 
and flash out into the light, and the higgledy-piggledy 
glimpses of the next five minutes. In a moment, you 
are above thickly-thronged streets, and the houses on 
either side, looking down into the black throats of 
smoky chimneys ; into the garret lairs of poverty, sick- 
ness, and sin ; down lower upon squads of children 
trying to play in back-yards eight feet square. It is 
all wrong, except in the single quality of speed. You 
enter the town as you would a farmer's house, if you 
first passed through the pig-stye into the kitchen. 
Every respectable house in the city turns its back upon 
you ; and often a very brick and dirty back, too, 
though it may show an elegant front of Bath or Port- 
land stone to the street it faces. All the respectable 
streets run over or under you, with an audible shudder 
of disgust or dread. None but a shabby lane of low 
shops for the sale of junk, beer, onions, shrimps, and 
cabbages, will run a third of a mile by your side for 
the sake of 3 r our company. The wickedest boys in the 



London to John O Groat's. 3 

town hoot at you, with most ignominious and satirical 
antics, as you pass ; and if they do not shie stones in 
upon you, or dead cats, it is more from fear of the 
beadle or the constable than out of respect for your 
business or pleasure. 

Indeed, every town and village, great or small, which 
you pass through or near on the railway, looks as if 
you came fifty years before you were expected. It 
says, in all the legible expressions of its countenance, 
" Lack-a-day ! if here isn't that creature come already, 
and looking in at my back door before I had time to 
turn around, or put anything in shape ! " The Iron 
Horse himself gets no sympathy nor humane admiration. 
He stands grim and wrathy, when reined up for two 
minutes and forty-five seconds at a station. No ven- 
turesome boys pat him on the flanks, or look kindly 
into his eyes, or say a pleasant word to him, or even 
wonder if he is tired, or thirsty, or hungry. None of 
the ostlers of the greasy stables, in which the locomo- 
tives are housed, ever call him Dobbin, or Old Jack, or 
Jenny, or say, " "Well done, old fellow ! " when they 
unhitch him from the train at midnight, after a journey 
of a hundred leagues. His driver is a real man of flesh 
and blood ; with wife and children whom he loves. He 
goes on Sunday to church, and, maybe, sings the psalms 
of David, and listens devoutly to the sermon, and says 
B 2 



4 A Walk from 

prayers at home, and the few who know him speak well 
of him, as a good and proper man in his way. But, 
spurred and mounted upon the saddle of the great iron 
hexiped, nearly all the passengers regard him as a part 
of the beast. No one speaks to him, or thinks of him 
on the journey. He may pull up at fifty stations, and 
not a soul among the Firsts, Seconds, or even Thirds, will 
offer him a glass of beer, or pipe-ful of tobacco, or give 
him a sixpence at the end of the ride for extra speed or 
care. His face is grimy, and greasy, and black. All 
his motions are ambiguous and awkward to the casual 
observer. He has none of the sedate and conscious 
dignity of his predecessor on the old stage-coach box. 
He handles no whip, like him, with easy grace. In- 
deed, in putting up his great beast to its best speed, he 
" hides his whip in the manger," according to a proverb 
older than steam power. He wears no gloves in the 
coldest weather ; not always a coat, and never a decent 
one, at his work. He blows no cheery music out of a 
brass bugle as he approaches a town, but pricks the 
loins of the fiery beast, and makes him scream with a 
sound between a human whistle and an alligator's croak. 
He never pulls up abreast of the station-house door, in 
the fashion of the old coach driver, to show off himself 
and his leaders, but runs on several rods ahead of pas- 
sengers and spectators, as if to be clear of them and their 



London to John O Groat's. 5 

comments, good or bad. At the end of the journey, be 
it at midnight or daybreak, not a man nor a woman he 
has driven safely at the rate of forty miles an hour 
thinks or cares what becomes of him, or separates him 
in thought from the great iron monster he mounts. 
Not the smock-frocked man, 'getting out of the forward- 
most Third, with his stick and bundle, thinks of him, or 
stops a moment to see him back out and turn into the 
stable. 

With all the practical advantages of this machine 
propulsion at bird speed over space, it confounds and 
swallows up the poetical aspects and picturesque scene- 
ries that were the charm of old-fashioned travelling in 
the country. The most beautiful landscapes rotate 
around a locomotive axis confusedly. Green pastures 
and yellow wheat fields are in a whirl. Tall and 
venerable trees get into the wake of the same motion, 
and the large, pied cows ruminating in their shade, 
seem to lie on the revolving arc of an indefinite circle. 
The views dissolve before their best aspect is caught by 
the eye. The flowers, like Eastern beauties, can only 
be seen " half hidden and half revealed," in the general 
unsteadiness. As for bees, you cannot hear or see them 
at all ; and the songs of the happiest birds are drowned 
altogether by the clatter of a hundred wheels on the 
metal track. If there are any poor, flat, or fen lands, 



6 A Walk from 

your way is sure to lie through them. In a picturesque 
and undulating country, studded with parks and man- 
sions of wealth and taste, you are plunging through a 
long, dark tunnel, or walled into a deep cut, before 
your eye can catch the view that dashes by your car- 
riage window. If you have a utilitarian proclivity and 
purpose, and would like to see the great agricultural 
industries of the country, they present themselves to 
you in as confused aspects as the sceneries of the passing 
landscape. The face of every farm is turned from you. 
The farmer's house fronts on the turnpike road, and the 
best views of his homestead, of his industry, prosperity, 
and happiness, look that way. Tou only get a furtive 
glance, a kind of clandestine and diagonal peep at him 
and his doings ; and having thus travelled a hundred 
miles through a fertile country, you can form no ap- 
proximate or satisfactory idea of its character and pro- 
ductions. 

But no facts nor arguments are needed to convince 
an intelligent traveller, that the railway affords no point 
of view for seeing town or country to any satisfactory 
perception of its character. Indeed, neither coach of 
the olden, nor cab of the modern vogue, nor saddle, will 
enable one to "do" either town or country with thorough 
insight and enjoyment. It takes him too long to pull 
up to catch the features of a sudden view. He can do 



London to John O Groat's. 7 

nothing with those generous and delightful institutions 
of Old England, the footpaths, that thread pasture, 
park, and field, seemingly permeating her whole green 
world with dusky veins for the circulation of human 
life. To lose all the picturesque lanes and landscapes 
which these field-paths cross and command, is to lose 
the great distinctive charm of the country. Then, 
neither from the coach-box nor the saddle can he make 
much conversation on the way. He loses the chance of 
a thousand little talks and pleasant incidents. He can- 
not say " Grood morning " to the farmer at the stile, nor 
a word of greeting to the reapers over the hedge, nor 
see where they live, and the kind of children that play 
by their cottage doors ; nor the little antique churches, 
bearded to their eye-brows with ivy, covering the 
wrinkles of half a dozen centuries, nor the low and 
quiet villages clustering around, each like a family of 
bushy-headed children surrounding their venerable 
mother. 

In addition to these considerations, there was another 
that moved me to this walk. Although I had been up 
and down the country as often and as extensively as 
any American, perhaps, and admired its general scenery, 
I had never looked at it with an agricultural eye or 
interest. But, having dabbled a little in farming in 
the interval between my last two visits to England, and 



8 A Walk from 

being touched with some of the enthusiasm that modern 
novices carry into the occupation, I was determined to 
look at the agriculture of Great Britain more leisurely 
and attentively, and from a better stand-point than I 
had ever done before. The thought had also occurred 
to me, that a walk through the best agricultural counties 
of England and Scotland would afford opportunity for 
observation which might be made of some interest to 
my friends and neighbour farmers in America as well as 
to myself. Therefore, I beg the English reader to re- 
member that I am addressing to them the notes that I 
may make by the way, hoping that its incidents and 
the thoughts il suggests will not be devoid of interest 
because they are principally intended for the American 
ear. 



London to John O' Groat's. 



CHAPTER II. 

FIBST DAY'S OBSERVATIONS AND ENJOYMENT RURAL FOOT-PATHS J VISIT 
TO TIPTREE FARM ALDERMAN MECHl's OPERATIONS IMPROVE- 
MENTS INTRODUCED, DECRIED, AND ADOPTED STEAM POWEB, 

UNDER-DRAINING, DEEP TILLAGE, IRRIGATION PRACTICAL RESULTS. 

ON Wednesday, July 15, 1863, I left London, with 
the hope that I might be able to accomplish the 
northern half of my proposed " Walk from Land's End 
to John O'Groat's." I had been practically prostrated 
by a serious indisposition for nearly two months, and 
was just able to walk one or two miles at a time about 
the city. Believing that country air and exercise would 
soon enable me to be longer on my feet, I concluded to 
set out as I was, without waiting for additional strength, 
so slow and difficult to attain in the smoky atmosphere 
and hot streets of London. 

Few reading farmers in America there are who are 
not familiar with the name and fame of Alderman 
Mechi, as an agriculturist of that new and scientific 
school that is making such a revolution in the great 
primeval industry of mankind. His experiments on 
his Tiptree Farm have attained a world- wide publicity, 
and have given that homestead an interest that, per- 



io A Walk from 

haps, never attached to the same number of acres in 
any country or age. Thinking that this famous esta- 
blishment would be a good starting point for my 
pedestrian tour, I concluded to proceed thither first 
by railway, and thence to walk northward, by easy 
stages, through the fertile and rural county of Essex. 
Taking an afternoon train, I reached Kelvedon about 
5 p.m., the station for Tiptree, and a good specimen 
of an English village, at two hour's ride from London. 
Calling at the residence of a Friend, or Quaker, to inquire 
the way to the Alderman's farm, he invited me to take 
tea with him, and be his guest for the night, a hospi- 
tality which I very gladly accepted, as it was a longer 
walk to Tiptree than I had anticipated. After tea, my 
host, who was a farmer as well as miller, took me over 
his fields, and showed me his live stock, his crops of 
wheat, barley, oats, beans, and roots, which were all 
large and luxuriant, and looked like a tableau vivant of 
plenty within the green hedges that enclosed and 
adorned them. 

The next morning, after breakfast, my kind host set 
me on the way to Tiptree by a footpath through alter- 
nating fields of wheat, barley, oats, beans, and turnips, 
into which an English farm is generally divided. These 
footpaths are among the vested interests of the walking 
public throughout the United Kingdom. Most of them 






London to John O 1 Groat's. n 

are centuries old. The footsteps of a dozen generations 
have given them the force and sanctity of a popular 
right. A farmer might as well undertake to barricade 
the turnpike road as to close one of these old paths 
across his best fields. So far from obstructing them, he 
finds it good policy to straighten and round them up, 
and supply them with convenient gates or stiles, so that 
no one shall have an excuse for trampling on his crops, 
or for diverging into the open field for a shorter cut to 
the main road. Blessings on the men who invented 
them ! It was done when land was cheap, and public 
roads were few; before four wheels were first geared 
together for business or pleasure. They were the doing 
of another age ; this would not have produced them. 
They run through all the prose, poetry, and romance 
of the rural life of England, permeating the history of 
green hedges, thatched cottages, morning songs of the 
lark, moonlight walks, meetings at the stile, harvest 
homes of long ago, and many a romantic narrative of 
human experience widely read in both hemispheres. 
They will run on for ever, carrying with them the same 
associations. They are the inheritance of landless mil- 
lions, who have trodden them in ages past at dawn, 
noon, and night, to and from their labor ; and in ages 
to come the mowers and reapers shall tread them to the 
morning music of the lark, and through Spring, Sum- 



12 A Walk from 

mer, Autumn, and Winter, they shall show the fresh 
checker- work of the ploughman's hob-nailed shoe. The 
surreptitious innovations of utilitarian science shall 
not poach upon these sacred preserves of the people, 
whatever revolutions they may produce in the machinery 
and speed of turnpike locomotion. These pleasant and 
peaceful paths through park, and pasture, meandering 
through the beautiful and sweet-breathing artistry of 
English agriculture, are guaranteed to future genera- 
tions by an authority which no legislation can annul. 

A walk of a few miles brought me in sight of Tiptree 
Hall ; and its first aspect relieved my mind of an im- 
pression which, in common with thousands better in- 
formed, I had entertained in reference to the establish- 
ment. An idea has generally prevailed among English 
farmers, and agriculturists of other countries who have 
heard of Alderman Mechi's experiments, that they were 
impracticable and almost valueless, because they would 
not pay ; that the balance-sheet of his operations did and 
must ever show such ruinous discrepancy between income 
and expenditure as must deter any man, of less capital 
and reckless enthusiasm, from following his lead into 
such unconsidered ventures. In short, he has been 
widely regarded at home and abroad as a bold and 
dashing novice in agricultural experience, ready to lavish 
upon his own hasty inventions a fortune acquired in his 



London to John O Groat's. 13 

London warehouse ; and all this to make himself famous 
as a great light in the agricultural world, which light, 
after all, was a mere will-o'-the-wisp sort of affair, lead- 
ing its dupes into the veriest bog of bankruptcy. In 
common with all those bold, self-reliant spirits that have 
ventured to break away from the antecedents of public 
opinion and custom, he has been the subject of many 
ungenerous inuendoes and criticisms. All kinds of am- 
bitions and motives have been ascribed to him. Many 
a burly, red-faced farmer, who boasts of an unbroken 
agricultural lineage reaching back into the reign of 
Good Queen Bess, will tell you over his beer that the 
Alderman's doings are all gammon; that they are all 
to advertise his cutlery business in Leadenhall Street, 
Barnum fashion; to inveigle down to Tiptree Hall 
noblemen, foreign ambassadors, and great people of 
different countries, and bribe " an honorable mention " 
out of them with champagne treats and oyster suppers. 
Indeed, my Quaker host largely participated in this 
opinion, and took no pains to conceal it when speaking 
of his enterprising neighbor. 

From what I had read and heard of the Tiptree Hall 
estate, I expected to see a grand, old baronial mansion, 
surrounded with elegant and costly buildings for housing 
horses, cattle, sheep, and other live stock, all erected on 
a scale which no bond fide farmer could adopt or approxi- 



14 A Walk from 

mately imitate. In a word, I fancied his barns and 
stables would even surpass in this respect the establish- 
ments of some of those wealthy New York or Boston 
merchants, who think they are stimulating country 
farmers to healthy emulation by lavishing from thirty 
to forty thousand dollars on a barn and its appurtenant 
outhouses. With these preconceived ideas, it was an 
unexpected satisfaction to see quite a simple-looking, 
unassuming establishment, which any well-to-do farmer 
might make and own. The house is rather a large and 
solid-looking building, erected by Mr. Mechi himself, 
but not at all ostentatious of wealth or architectural 
taste. The barns and " steddings," or what we call 
cow-houses in America, are of a very ordinary cast, or 
such as any country-bred farmer would call economical 
and simple. The homestead occupies no picturesque 
site, and commands no interesting scenery. The farm 
consists of about 170 acres, which, in England, is re- 
garded as a rather small holding. The land is naturally 
sterile and hard of cultivation, most of it apparently 
being heavily mixed with ferruginous matter. When 
plowed deeply, the clods turned up look frequently like 
compact masses of iron ore. Every experienced farmer 
knows the natural poverty of such a soil, and the hard 
labor to man and beast it costs to till it. 

To my great regret, Mr. Mechi was not at home, 



London to John O Groat's. 15 

though he passes most of his time in summer at Tiptree. 
But his foreman, who enters into all the experiments 
and operations which have made the establishment so 
famous, with almost equal interest and enthusiasm, took 
me through the farm buildings, and all the fields, and 
showed me the whole process and machinery employed. 
Any English or American agriculturist who has read of 
Alderman Mechi's operations, would be inclined to ask, 
on looking, for the first time, at his buildings and the 
fields surrounding them, what is the great distinguish- 
ing speciality of his enterprise. His land is poor ; his 
housings are simple ; there is no outside show of un- 
common taste or genius. Every acre is tile-drained, to 
be sure. But that is nothing new nor uncommon. 
Drainage is the order of the day. Any tenant farmer 
in England can have his land drained by the Grovern- 
ment by paying six per cent, annually on the cost of 
the job. His expenditure for artificial manures does 
not exceed that of hundreds of good farmers. He 
carries out the deep tillage system most liberally. So 
do other scientific agriculturists in Europe and America. 
Of course, a few hours' observation would not suffice for 
a full and correct conclusion on this point, but it gave 
me the impression that the great operation which has 
won for the Tiptree Farm its special distinction, is its 
irrigation with liquid manure. In this respect it stands 



1 6 A Walk from 

unrivalled, and, perhaps, unimitated. And this, pro- 
bably, is the head and front of his offending to those 
who criticise his economy and decry his experiments. 

This irrigation is performed through the medium of 
a small steam engine and sixteen hydrants, so posted 
and supplied with hose as to reach every square foot of 
the 170 acres. The water used for this purpose is 
mostly, if not entirely, supplied from the draining 
pipes, even in the dryest season. The manure thus 
liquified is made by a comparatively small number of 
animals. Calves to the value of 50 are bought, and 
fat stock to that of 500 are sold annually. They are 
all stabled throughout the year, except in harvest time, 
when they are turned out for a few weeks to rowen 
feed. The calves are housed until a year old in a large 
stedding by themselves. They are then transferred to 
another building, and put upon " the boards ;" that is, 
in a long stable or cow-house, with a flooring of slats, 
through which the manure drops into a cellar below, 
made water-tight. Here the busiest little engine in the 
world is brought to bear upon it, with all its faculties of 
suction and propulsion. Through one pipe it forces 
fresh water in upon this mass of manure, which, when 
liquified, runs down into a subterranean cistern or reser- 
voir capable of holding over 100,000 gallons. From 
this it is propelled into any field to be irrigated. To 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 17 

prevent any sediment in the great reservoir, or to make 
an even mixture of the liquified manure, a hose is 
attached to the engine, and the other end dropped into 
the mass. Through this a constant volume of air is 
propelled with such force as to set the whole boiling and 
foaming like a little cataract. One man at the engine 
and two at the hose in the distant field perform the 
whole operation. The chapped and " baky " surface of 
the farm is thus softened and enriched at will, and ren- 
dered productive. 

Now, this operation seems to constitute the present 
distinctive speciality of Alderman Mechi's Tiptree Farm. 
Will it pay? ask a thousand voices. In how many 
years will he get his money back ? Give us the 
balance sheet of the experiment. A New Englander, 
favorably impressed with the process, would be likely 
to answer these questions by another, and ask, will 
drainage pay ? Not in one year, assuredly, nor in five ; 
not in ten, perhaps. The British Government assumes 
that all the expenditure upon under-drainage will be 
paid back in fifteen or twenty years at the farthest. It 
lends money to the landowner on this basis ; and the 
landowner stipulates with his tenant that he shall reim- 
burse him by annual instalments of six or seven per 
cent, until the whole cost of the operation is liquidated. 
Thus the tenant-farmer is willing to pay six, sometimes 



1 8 A Walk from 

seven per cent, annually, for twenty years, for the in- 
creased capacity of production which drainage gives to 
the farm he cultivates. At the end of that period the 
Government is paid by the landlord, and the landlord 
by the tenant, and the tenant by his augmented crops 
for the whole original outlay upon the land. For aught 
either of the three parties to the operation knows to the 
contrary, it must all be done over again at the end of 
twenty years. The system is too young yet, even in 
England, for any one to say how long a course of tubing 
will last, or how often it must be relaid. 

One point, therefore, has been gained. No intelligent 
English farmer, who has tried the system, now asks if 
under-drainage will pay ; nor does he expect that it will 
pay back the whole expenditure in less than twelve or 
fifteen years. Here is a generous faith in the operation 
on the side of all the parties concerned. Then why 
should not Alderman Mechi's irrigation system be put 
on the same footing, in the matter of public confidence ? 
It is nothing very uncommon even for a two hundred 
acre farmer in England to have a small stationary or 
locomotive steam-engine, and to find plenty of work for 
it, too, in threshing his grain, grinding his fodder, pulp- 
ing his roots, cutting his hay and straw, and for other 
purposes. Mr. Mechi would doubtless have one for 
these objects alone. So its cost must not be charged 



London to John O Groat's. 19 

to the account of irrigation. A single course of iron 
tubing, a third of a mile long, reaching to the centre of 
his farthest field, cannot cost more, with all the hose 
employed, than the drainage of that field, while it would 
be fair to assume that the iron pipes will last twice as 
long as those of burnt clay. They might fairly be 
expected to hold good for forty years. If, then, for 
this period, or less, the process yields ten per cent, of 
increased production annually, over and above the effect 
of all other means employed, it is quite evident that it 
will pay as well as drainage. 

But does it augment the yearly production of the 
farm by this amount ? To say that it is the only pro- 
cess by which the baky and chappy soil of Tiptree can 
be thoroughly fertilised, would not suffice to prove its 
necessity or value to other soils of different composition. 
One fact, however, may be sufficient to determine its 
virtue. The fields of clover and Italian rye-grass, &c., 
are mown three and even four times in one season, and 
afterwards fed with sheep. Certainly, no other system 
could produce all this cropping. The distinctive dif- 
ference it makes in other crops cannot, perhaps, be made 
so palpable. The wheat looked strong and heavy, with 
a fair promise of forty-five bushels to an acre. The 
oats, beans, and roots showed equally well. 

The irrigation and deep tillage systems were going 
c2 



2O A Walk from 

on simultaneously in the same field, affording me a 
good opportunity of seeing the operation of both. Two 
men were plying the hose upon a portion of the field 
which had already been mowed three times. Two 
teams were at work turning up the other, which had 
already teen cropped once or twice. One of two horses 
went first, and, with a common English plough, turned 
an ordinary furrow. Then the other followed, of twice 
the force of the first, in the same furrow, with a subsoil 
plough held to the work beam-deep. The iron-stones 
and ferruginous clods turned up by this " deep tillage " 
would make a prairie farmer of Illinois wonder, if not 
shudder, at the plucky and ingenious industry which 
competes with his easy toil and cheap land in providing 
bread for the landless millions of Great Britain. 

The only exceptional feature or arrangement, besides 
the irrigating machinery and process, that I noticed, 
was an iron hurdling for folding sheep. This, at first 
sight, might look to a practical farmer a little extrava- 
gant, indicating a city origin, or the notion of an ama- 
teur agriculturist, more ambitious of the new than of 
the necessary. Each length of this iron fencing is 
apparently about a rod, and cost 1, or nearly five 
dollars. It is fitted to low wheels, or rollers, on an 
axle two or three feet in length, so that it can be moved 
easily and quickly in any direction. It would cost over 



London to John O* Groat's. 21 

fifty pounds, or two hundred and fifty dollars, to enclose 
an acre entirely with this kind of hurdling. Still, Mr. 
Mechi would doubtless be able to show that this large 
expenditure is a good investment, and pays well in the 
long run. The folding of sheep for twenty-four or 
forty-eight hours on small patches of clover, trefoil, 
or turnips, is a very important department of English 
farming, both for fattening them for the market and 
for putting the land in better heart than any other 
fertilising process could effect. Now, a man with this 
iron fencing on wheels must be able to make in two 
hours an enclosure that would cost him a day or more 
of busy labor with the old wooden hurdles. 

On the whole, a practical farmer, who has no other 
source of income than the single occupation of agricul- 
ture, would be likely to ask, what is the realised value 
of Alderman Mechi's operations to the common grain 
and stock-growers of the world? They have excited 
more attention or curiosity than any other experiments 
of the present day ; but what is the real resume of their 
results ? "What new principles has he laid down ; what 
new economy has he reduced to a science that may be 
profitably utilised by the million who get their living 
by farming ? What has he actually done that anybody 
else has adopted or imitated to any tangible advan- 
tage ? These are important questions ; and this is the 



22 A Walk from 

way lie undertakes to answer them, beginning with the 
last. 

About twenty years ago, he inaugurated the system 
of under-draining the heavy tile-clay lands in Essex. 
Up to his experiment, the process was deemed imprac- 
ticable and worthless by the most intelligent farmers of 
the county. It was more confidently decried than his 
present irrigation system. The water would never find 
its way down into the drain-pipes through such clay. 
It stood to reason that it would do no such thing. Did 
not the water stand in the track of the horse's hoof in 
such clay until evaporated by the sun? It might as 
well leak through an earthenware basin. It was all 
nonsense to bury a man's money in that style. He 
never would see a shilling of it back again. In the 
face of these opinions, Mr. Mechi went on, training 
his pipes through field after field, deep below the sur- 
face. And the water percolated through the clay 
into them, until all these long veins formed a con- 
tinuous and rushing stream into the main artery that 
now furnishes an ample supply for his stabled cattle, 
for his steam engine, and for all the barn-yard wants. 
His tile-draining of clay-lands was a capital success; 
and those who derided and opposed it have now adopted 
it to their great advantage, and to the vast augmenta- 
tion of the value and production of the county. Here, 



London to John O 'Groat's. 23 

then, is one thing in which he has led, and others have 
followed to a great practical result. 

His next leading was in the way of agricultural 
machinery. He first introduced a steam engine for 
farming purposes in a district containing a million of 
acres. That, too, at the outset, was a fantastic vagary 
in the opinion of thousands of solid and respectahle 
farmers. They insisted the Iron Horse would be as 
dangerous in the barn-yard or rick-yard as the very 
dragon in Scripture ; that he would set everything on 
fire ; kill the men who had care of him ; burst and blow 
up himself and all the buildings into the air ; that all 
the horses, cows, and sheep would be frightened to 
death at the very sight of the monster, and never could 
be brought to lie down in peace and safety by his side, 
even when his blood was cold, and when he was fast 
asleep. To think of it ! to have a tall chimney tower- 
ing up over a barn-gable or barn-yard, and puffing out 
black coal smoke, cotton-factory-wise ! Pretty talk ! 
pretty terms to train an honest and virtuous farmer to 
mouth! Wouldn't it be edifying to hear him string 
the yarn of these new words ! to hear him tell of his 
engineer and ploughman ; of his pokers and pitchforks ; 
of six-horse potcer, valves, revolutions, stopcocks, twenty 
pounds of steam, &c. ; mixing up all this ridiculous stuff 
with yearling calves, turnips, horse-carts, oilcake, wool, 



24 A Walk from 

bullocks, beans, and sheep, and other vital things and 
interests, which forty centuries have looked upon with 
reverence ! To plough, thresh, cut turnips, grind corn, 
and pump water for cattle by steam ! What next ? 

Why, next, the farmers of the region round about 

" First pitied, then embraced " 

this new and powerful auxiliary to agricultural industry, 
after having watched its working and its worth. And 
now, thanks to such bold and spirited novices as Mr. 
Mechi men who had the pluck to work steadily on under 
the pattering rain of derisive epithets there are already 
nearly as many steam engines working at farm labor 
between Land's End and John 0' Groat's as there are 
employed in the manufacture of cotton in Great Britain. 

His irrigation system will doubtless be followed in 
the same order and interval by those who have pooh- 
poohed it with the same derision and incredulty as the 
other innovations they have already adopted. The 
utilising of the sewage of large towns, especially of 
London, has now become a prominent idea and move- 
ment. Mr. Mechi's machinery and process are admir- 
ably adapted to the work of distributing a river of this 
fertilising material over any farm to which it may be 
conducted. Thus, there is good reason to believe that 
the very process he originated for softening and enrich- 
ing the hard and sterile acres of his small farm in Essex 



London to John O* Groat's. 25 

will be adopted for saturating millions of acres in Great 
Britain with the millions of tons of manurial matter 
that have hitherto blackened and poisoned the rivers of 
the country on their wasteful way to the sea. This will 
be only an additional work for the farm engines now in 
operation, accomplished with but little increased ex- 
pense. A single fact may illustrate the irrigating 
capacity of Mr. Mechi's machinery. It throws upon a 
field a quantity of the fertilising fluid equal to one inch 
of rainfall at a time, or 100 tons per imperial acre. 
And., as a proof of how deep it penetrates, the drains 
run freely with it, thus showing conclusively that the 
subsoil has been well saturated, a point of vital im- 
portance to the crop. 

Deep tillage is another speciality that distinguished 
the Tiptree Farm regime at the beginning, in which 
Mr. Mechi led, and in which he has been followed by 
the farmers of the county, although few have come up 
abreast of him as yet in the system. 

Here, then, are four specific departments of improve- 
ment in agricultural industry which the Alderman has 
introduced. Every one of them has been ridiculed as 
an impracticable and useless innovation in its turn. 
Three of them have already been adopted, and virtually 
incorporated with agricultural science and economy; 
and the fourth, or irrigation by steam power, bids fair 



26 A Walk from 

to find as much favor, and as many adherents in the 
end, as the others have done. 

He has not only originated these improvements, or 
been the first to give them practical experiment, but he 
has laid down certain principles which will doubtless 
exercise much influence in shaping the industrial 
economy of agriculture hereafter in different countries. 
One of the best of these principles he puts in the form 
of a mathematical proposition. Thus : As the meat is 
to the manure, so is the crop to the land. Tell me, he 
says, how much meat you make, and I will tell you 
how much corn you make, to the acre. Meat, then, is 
the starting point with him; the basis of his annual 
production, to which he looks for a satisfactory decision 
of his balance-sheet. To show the value he attaches to 
this element, the fact will suffice that he usually keeps 
65 bullocks, cows, and calves, 100 sheep, and a number 
of pigs, besides his horses, making one head to every 
acre of his farm. With this amount of live stock he 
makes from 4 to 5 worth of meat per acre annually. 
Perhaps it would be safe to say that no other 170 acres 
of land in the world make more meat, manure, and 
grain in the year than the Tiptree Farm. In these 
results Mr. Mechi thinks his experiments and improve- 
ments have proved 

Quod es demonstrandum. 






London to John O* Groat's. 27 

Having gone over the farm pretty thoroughly, and 
noticed all the leading features of the establishment, I 
was requested by the foreman to enter my name in the 
visitor's book kept in his neat cottage parlor. It is 
a large volume, with the ruling running across both the 
wide pages ; the leffc apportioned to name, town, coun- 
try, and profession ; the right to remarks of the visitor. 
It is truly a remarkable book of interesting autographs 
and observations, which the philologist as well as agri- 
culturist might pore over with lively satisfaction. It 
not only contains the names and comments of many 
of the most distinguished personages in Great Britain, 
but those of all other countries of Europe, even of Asia 
and Africa, as well as America. Foreign ambassadors, 
Continental savans, men of fame in the literary, scien- 
tific, and political world, have here recorded their names 
and impressions in the most unique succession and 
blending. Here, under one date, is a party of Italian 
gentlemen, leaving their autographs and their observa- 
tions in the softest syllables of their language. Then 
several German connoisseurs follow, in their peculiar 
script, with comments worded heavily with hard- 
mouthed consonants. Then comes, perhaps, a single 
Russian nobleman, who expresses his profound satis- 
faction in the politest French. Next succeed three or 
four Spanish Dons, with a long fence of names attached 



28 A Walk from 

to each, who give their views of the establishment in 
the grave, sonorous words of their language. Here, 
now, an American puts in his autograph, with his 
sharp, curt notion of the matter, as " first-rate." Yery 
likely a turbaned Mufti or Singh of the Oriental world 
follows the New England farmer. Danish and Swedish 
knights prolong the procession, mingling with Austra- 
lian wool-growers, Members of the French Eoyal Aca- 
demy, Canadian timber-merchants, Dutch Mynheers, 
Brazilian coffee-planters, Belgian lace-makers, and the 
representatives of all other countries and professions in 
Christendom. An autograph-monger, with the mania 
strong upon him, of unscrupulous curiosity, armed fur- 
tively with a keen pair of scissors, would be a dangerous 
person to admit to the presence of that big book without 
a policeman at his elbow. 

Tiptree Hall has its own literature also, in two or 
three volumes, written by Mr. Mechi himself, and de- 
scribing fully his agricultural experience and experi- 
ments, and giving facts and arguments which every 
English and American farmer might study with profit. 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 



CHAPTER III. 

ENGLISH AND AMERICAN BIRDS. 

" What thou art we know not ; 
What is most like thee ? 
From rainbow clouds there flow not 
Drops so bright to see, 
As from thy presence showers a rain of melody." 

SHELLEY'S "SKYLARK." 

" Do you ne'er think what wondrous beings these ? 
Do you ne'er think who made them, and who taught 
The dialect they speak, whose melodies 
Alone are the interpreters of thought ? 
Whose household words are songs in many keys, 
Sweeter than instrument of man e'er caught ! 
Whose habitations in the tree-tops, even, 
Are half-way houses on the road to heaven." 

LONGFELLOW. 

HAYING- spent a couple of hours very pleasantly 
at Tiptree Hall, I turned my face in a northerly 
direction for a walk through the best agricultural sec- 
tion of Essex. While passing through a grass field 
recently mown, a lark flew up from almost under my 
feet. And there, partially overarched by a tuft of 
clover, was her little all of earth a snug, warm nest 
with two small eggs in it, about the size and colour of 
those of the ground-chipping-bird of New England, 
which is nearer the English lark than any other Ameri- 
can bird. I bent down to look at them with an interest 



30 A Walk from 

an American could only feel. To him the lark is to 
the bird-world's companionship and music what the 
angels are to the spirit land. He has read and dreamed 
of both from his childhood up. He has believed in 
both poetically and pleasantly, sometimes almost posi- 
tively, as real and beautiful individualities. He almost 
credits the poet of his own country, who speaks of hear- 
ing "the downward beat of angel wings." In his 
facile faith in the substance of picturesque and happy 
shadows, he sometimes tries to believe that the phoenix 
may have been, in some age and country, a real, living 
bird, of flesh and blood and genuine feathers, with long, 
strong wings, capable of performing the strange psyco- 
logical feats ascribed to it in that most edifying picture 
emblazoned on the arms of Banking Companies, In- 
surance Offices, and Quack Doctors. He is not sure 
that dying swans have not sung a mournful hymn over 
their last moments, under an affecting and human sense 
of their mortality. He has believed in the English 
lark to the same point of pleasing credulity. Why 
should he not give its existence the same faith ? The 
history of its life is as old as the English alphabet, and 
older still. It sang over the dark and hideous lairs of 
the bloody Druids centuries before Julius Csesar was 
born, and they doubtless had a pleasant name for it, 
unless true music was hateful to their ears. It sang, 



London to John O' Groats. 31 

without loss or change of a single note of this morning's 
song, to the Roman legions as they marched, or made 
roads in Britain. It sang the same voluntaries to the 
Saxons, Danes, and Normans, through the long ages, 
and, perhaps, tended to soften their antagonisms, and 
hasten their blending into one great and mighty people. 
How the name and song of this happiest of earthly 
birds run through all the rhyme and romance of Eng- 
lish poetry, of English rural life, ever since there was 
an England ! Take away its history and its song from 
her daisy-eyed meadows and shaded lanes, and hedges 
breathing and blooming with sweetbriar leaves and 
hawthorn flowers from her thatched cottages, veiled 
with ivy from the morning tread of the reapers, and 
the mower's lunch of bread and cheese under the mea- 
dow elm, and you take away a living and beautiful 
spirit more charming than music. You take away from 
English poetry one of its pleiades, and bereave it of a 
companionship more intimate than that of the nearest 
neighbourhood of the stars above. How the lark's life 
and song blend, in the rhyme of the poet, with "the 
sheen of silver fountains leaping to the sea," with 
morning sunbeams and noontide thoughts, with the 
sweetest breathing flowers, and softest breezes, and 
busiest bees, and greenest leaves, and happiest human 
industries, loves, hopes, and aspirations ! 



32 A Walk from 

The American has read and heard of all this from 
his youth up to the day of setting his foot, for the first 
time, on English ground. He has tried to believe it, 
as in things seen, temporal and tangible. But in doing 
this he has to contend with a sense or suspicion of un- 
reality a feeling that there has been great poetical 
exaggeration in the matter. A patent fact lies at the 
bottom of this incredulity. The forefathers of New 
England carried no wild birds with them to sing about 
their cabin-homes in the New World. But they found 
beautiful and happy birds on that wild continent, as 
well-dressed, as graceful in form and motion, and of as 
fine taste for music and other accomplishments, as if 
they and their ancestors had sung before the courts of 
Europe for twenty generations. These sang their sweet 
songs of welcome to the Pilgrims as they landed from 
the " May-Flower." These sang to them cheerily, 
through the first years and the later years of their 
stern trials and tribulations. These built their nests 
where the blue eyes of the first white children born in 
the land could peer in upon the speckled eggs with 
wonder and delight. What wonder that those strong- 
hearted puritan fathers and mothers, who 

" Made the aisles of the dim wood ring 
" With the anthems of the free," 

should love the fellowship of these native singers of the 



London to John O Groat's. 33 

field and forest, and give them names their hearts loved 
in the old home land beyond the sea ! They did not 
consult Linnaeus, nor any musty Latin genealogy of 
Old "World birds, at the christening of these songsters. 
There was a good family resemblance in many cases. 
The blustering partridge, brooding over her young in 
the thicket, was very nearly like the same bird in Eng- 
land. For the mellow-throated thrush of the old land 
they found a mate in the new, of the same size, color, 
and general habits, though less musical. The black- 
bird was nearly the same in many respects, though the 
smaller American wore a pair of red epaulettes. The 
swallows had their coat tails cut after the same old 
English pattern, and built their nests after the same 
model, and twittered under the eaves with the same 
ecstacy, and played the same antics in the air. But 
the two dearest home-birds of the fatherland had no 
family relations nor counterparts in America ; and the 
pilgrim fathers and their children could not make their 
humble homes happy without the lark and the robin, 
at least in name and association ; so they looked about 
them for substitutes. There was a plump, full-chested 
bird, in a chocolate-colored vest, with bluish dress coat, 
that would mount the highest tree-top in early spring, 
and play his flute by the hour for very joy to see the 
snow melt and the buds swell again. There was such 



34 ^ Walk from 

a rollicking happiness in his loud, clear notes, and he 
apparently sang them in such sympathy with human 
fellowships, and hopes, and homes, and he was such a 
cheery and confiding denizen of the orchard and garden 
withal, that he became at once the pet bird of old and 
young, and was called the robin ; and well would it be 
if its English namesake possessed its sterling virtues ; 
for, with all its pleasant traits and world-wide repu- 
tation, the English robin is a pretentious, arrogant 
busybody, characteristicaly pugilistic and troublesome 
in the winged society of England. In form, dress, 
deportment, disposition, and in voice and taste for 
vocal music, the American robin surpasses the English 
most decidedly. In this our grave forefathers did more 
than justice to the home-bird they missed on Plymouth 
Rock. In this generous tribute of their affection for it, 
they perhaps condoned for mating the English lark so 
incongruously ; but it was true their choice was very 
limited. To match the prima donna carissima of Eng- 
lish field and sky, it was necessary to select a meadow 
bird, with some other features of resemblance. It would 
never do to give the cherished name and association to 
one that lived in the forest, or built its nest in the tree- 
tops or house-tops, or to one that was black, yellow, or 
red. Having to conciliate all these conditions, and do 
the best with the material at hand, they pitched upon 



London to John O Groat's. 



35 



a rather large, brownish bird, in a drab waistcoat, 
slightly mottled, and with a loud, cracked voice, which 
nobody ever liked. So it never became a favorite, even 
to those who first gave it the name of lark. It was not 
its only defect that it lacked an ear and voice for music. 
There is always a scolding accent that marks its con- 
versation with other birds in the brightest mornings of 
June. He is very noisy, but never merry nor musical. 
Indeed, compared with the notes of the English lark, 
his are like the vehement ejaculations of a maternal 
duck in distress. 

Take it in all, no bird in either hemisphere equals the 
English lark in heart or voice, for both unite to make 
it the sweetest, happiest, the welcomest singer that was 
ever winged, like the high angels of (rod's love. It is 
the living ecstacy of joy when it mounts up into its 
" glorious privacy of light." On the earth it is timid, 
silent, and bashful, as if not at home, and not sure of 
its right to be there at all. It is rather homely withal, 
having nothing in feather, feature, or form, to attract 
notice. It is seemingly made to be heard, not seen, 
reversing the old axiom addressed to children when 
getting voicy. Its mission is music, and it floods a 
thousand acres of the blue sky with it several times a 
day. Out of that palpitating speck of living joy there 
wells forth a sea of twittering ecstacy upon the morn- 
i) 2 



36 A Walk from 

ing and evening air. It does not ascend by gyrations, 
like the eagle or birds of prey. It mounts up like a 
human aspiration. It seems to spread out its wings 
and to be lifted straight upwards out of sight by the 
aflatus of its own happy heart. To pour out this in 
undulating rivulets of rhapsody, is apparently the only 
motive of its ascension. This it is that has made it so 
loved of all generations. It is the singing angel of 
man's nearest heaven, whose vital breath is music. Its 
sweet warbling is only the metrical palpitation of its 
life of joy. It goes up over the roof- trees of the rural 
hamlet on the wings of its song, as if to train the human 
soul to trial flights heavenward. Never did the Creator 
put a voice of such volume into so small a living thing. 
It is a marvel almost a miracle. In a still hour you 
can hear it at nearly a mile's distance. "When its form 
is lost in the hazy lace-work of the sun's rays above, it 
pours down upon you all the thrilling semitones of its 
song as distinctly as if it were warbling to you in your 
window. 

The only American bird that could star it with the 
English lark, and win any admiration at a popular 
concert by its side, is our favourite comic singer, the 
Bobolink. I have thought often, when listening to 
British birds at their morning rehearsals, what a sen- 
sation would ensue if Master Bob, in his odd-fashioned 



London to John O Groat's. 37 

bib and tucker, should swagger into their midst, sing- 
ing one of those Low-Dutch voluntaries which he loves 
to pour down into the ears of our mowers in haying 
time. Not only would such an apparition and overture 
throw the best-trained orchestra of Old World birds into 
amazement or confusion, but astonish all the human 
listeners at an English concert. With what a wonder- 
ment would one of these blooming, country milkmaids 
look at the droll harlequin, and listen to those familiar 
words of his, set to his own music : 

Go to milk ! go to milk ! 
Oh, Miss Phillisey, 
Dear Miss Phillisey, 
What will "Willie say 
If you don't go to milk ! 
No cheese, no cheese, 
No butter nor cheese 
If you don't go to milk. 

It is a wonder that in these days of refined civiliza- 
tion, when Jenny Land, Grisi, Patti, and other cele- 
brated European singers, some of them from very warm 
climates, are transported to America to delight our 
Upper- Tendom, that there should be no persistent and 
successful effort to introduce the English lark into our 
out-door orchestra of singing-birds. No European voice 
would be more welcome to the American million. It 
would be a great gain to the nation, and be helpful to 
our religious devotions, as well as to our secular satis- 



38 A Walk from 

factions. In several of our sabbath hymns there is 
poetical reference to the lark and its song. For in- 
stance, that favorite psalm of gratitude for returning 
Spring opens with these lines : 

" The winter is over and gone, 

" The thrush whistles sweet on the spray, 

" The turtle breathes forth her soft moan, 

" The lark mounts on high and warbles away." 

Now not one American man, woman, or child in a 
thousand ever heard or saw an English lark, and how 
is he, she, or it to sing the last line of the foregoing 
verse with the spirit and understanding due to an 
exercise of devotion ? The American lark never mounts 
higher than the top of a meadow elm, on which it see- 
saws, and screams, or quacks, till it is tired ; then draws 
a bee-line for another tree, or a fence-post, never even 
undulating on the voyage. It may be said, truly 
enough, that the hymn was written in England. Still, 
if sung in America from generation to generation, we 
ought to have the English lark with us, for our children 
to see and hear, lest they may be tempted to believe 
that other and more serious similes in our sabbath 
hymns are founde4 on fancy instead of fact. 

Nor would it be straining the point, nor be dealing 
in poetical fancies, if we should predicate upon the in- 
troduction of the English lark into American society a 
supplementary influence much needed to unify and 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 39 

nationalise the heterogeneous elements of our popula- 
tion. Men, women, and children, speaking all the 
languages and representing all the countries and races 
of Europe, are streaming in upon us weekly in widen- 
ing currents. The rapidity with which they become 
assimilated to the native population is remarkable. 
But there is one element from abroad that does not 
Americanise itself so easily and that, curiously, is one 
the most American that comes from Europe in other 
words, the English. They find with us everything as 
English as it can possibly be out of England their 
language, their laws, their literature, their very bibles, 
psalm-books, psalm-tunes, the same faith and forms of 
worship, the same common histories, memories, affini- 
ties, affections, and general structure of social life and 
public institutions ; yet they are generally the very last 
to be and feel at home in America. A Norwegian 
mountaineer, in his deerskin doublet, and with a dozen 
English words picked up on the voyage, will Ameri- 
canise himself more in one year on an Illinois prairie, 
than an intelligent, middle- class Englishman will do 
in ten, in the best society of Massachusetts. Now, I 
am not dallying with a facetious fantasy when I ex- 
press the opinion, that the life and song of the English 
lark in America, superadded to the other institutions 
and influences indicated, would go a great way in 



4O A Walk from 

fusing this hitherto insoluble element, and blending it 
harmoniously with the best vitalities of the nation. 
And this consummation would well repay a special 
and extraordinary effort. Perhaps this expedient would 
be the most successful of all that remain untried. A 
single incident will prove that it is more than a mere 
theory. Here it is, in substance : 

Some years ago, when the Australian gold fever was 
hot in the veins of thousands, and fleets of ships were 
conveying them to that far-off, uncultivated world, a 
poor old woman landed with the great multitude of 
rough and reckless men, who were fired to almost 
frenzy by dreams of ponderous nuggets and golden 
fortunes. For these they left behind them all the 
enjoyments, endearments, all the softening sanctities 
and surroundings of home and social life in England. 
For these they left mothers, wives, sisters and daughters. 
There they were, thinly tented in the rain, and the 
dew, and the mist, a busy, boisterous, womanless camp 
of diggers and grubbers, roughing-and-tumbling it in 
the scramble for gold mites, with no quiet sabbath 
breaks, nor sabbath songs, nor sabbath bells to mea- 
sure off and sweeten a season of rest. Well, the poor 
widow, who had her cabin within a few miles of " the 
diggings," brought with her but few comforts from the 
old homeland a few simple articles of furniture, the 



London to John O' Groat's. 41 

bible and psalm-book of her youth, and an English lark 
to sing to her solitude the songs that had cheered her 
on the other side of the globe. And the little thing 
did it with all the fervor of its first notes in the Eng- 
lish sky. In her cottage window it sang to her hour 
by hour at her labor, with a voice never heard before 
on that wild continent. The strange birds of the land 
came circling around in their gorgeous plumage to 
hear it. Even four-footed animals, of grim countenance, 
paused to hear it. Then, one by one, came other lis- 
teners. They came reverently, and their voices softened 
into silence as they listened. Hard-visaged men, bare- 
breasted and unshaven, came and stood gently as girls ; 
and tears came out upon many a tanned and sun- 
blistered cheek as the little bird warbled forth the 
silvery treble of its song about the green hedges, the 
meadow streams, the cottage homes, and all the sunny 
memories of the fatherland. And they came near unto 
the lone widow with pebbles of gold in their hard and 
horny hands, and asked her to sell them the bird, that 
it might sing to them while they were bending to the 
pick and the spade. She was poor, and the gold was 
heavy ; yet she could not sell the warbling joy of her 
life. But she told them that they might come when- 
ever they would to hear it sing. So, on sabbath days, 
having no other preacher nor teacher, nor sanctuary 



42 A Walk from 

privilege, they came down in large companies from 
their gold-pits, and listened to the devotional hymns 
of the lark, and became better and happier men for its 
music. 

Seriously, it may be urged that the refined tastes, 
arts, and genius of the present day do not develope 
themselves symmetrically or simultaneously in this 
matter. Here are connoisseurs and enthusiasts in 
vegetable nature hunting up and down all the earth's 
continents for rare trees, plants, shrubs, and flowers. 
They are bringing them to England and America in 
shiploads, to such extent and variety, that nearly all 
the dead languages and many of the living are ran- 
sacked to furnish names for them. Llamas, drome- 
daries, Cashmere goats, and other strange animals, are 
brought, thousands of miles by sea and land, to be 
acclimatised and domesticated to these northern coun- 
tries. Artificial lakes are made for the cultivation of 
fish caught in antipodean streams. That is all plea- 
sant and hopeful and proper. The more of that sort of 
thing the better. But why not do the other thing, too ? 
Yattemare made it the mission of his life to induce 
people of different countries to exchange books, or un- 
needed duplicates of literature. We need an Audubon 
or Wilson, not to make new collections of feathered 
skeletons, and new volumes on ornithology, but to 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 43 

effect an exchange of living birds between Europe and 
America ; not for caging, not for Zoological gardens 
and museums, but for singing their free songs in our 
fields and forests. There is no doubt that the English 
lark would thrive and sing as well in America as in 
this country. And our Bobolink would be as easily 
acclimatised in Europe. Who could estimate the plea- 
sure which such an exchange in the bird- world would 
give to millions on both sides of the Atlantic ? 

There are some English birds which we could not 
introduce into the feathered society of America, any 
more than we could import a score of British Dukes 
and Duchesses, with all their hereditary dignities and 
grand surroundings, into the very heart and centre of 
our democracy. For instance, the grave and aristo- 
cratic rooks, if transported to our country, would turn 
up their noses and caw with contempt at our institu- 
tions even at our oldest buildings and most solemn 
and dignified oaks. It is very doubtful if they would 
be conciliated into any respect for the Capitol or The 
White House at Washington. They have an intuitive 
and most discriminating perception of antiquity, and 
their adhesion to it is invincible. Whether they came 
in with the Normans, or before, history does not say. 
One thing would seem evident. They are older than 
the Order of the Garter, and belonged to feudalism. 



44 A Walk from 

They are the living spirits of feudalism, which have 
survived its human retainers by several hundred years, 
and now represent the defunct institution as preten- 
tiously as in King Stephen's day. They are as fond 
of old Norman castles, cathedrals, and churches, as the 
very ivy itself, and cling to them with as much per- 
tinacity. For several hundred generations of bird-life, 
they and their ancestors have colonised their sable com- 
munities in the baronial park-trees of England, and 
their descendants promise to abide for as many genera- 
tions to come. In size, form, and color they differ but 
little from the American crow, but are swifter on the 
wing, with greater " gift of the gab," and less dignified 
in general deportment, though more given to aristo- 
cratic airs. Although they emigrated from France 
long before " La Democratic Sociale " was ever heard of 
in that country, they may be considered the founders of 
the Socialistic theory and practice ; and to this day they 
live and move in phalansteries, which succeed far better 
than those attempted by the American " Fourierites " 
some years ago. As in human communities, the col- 
lision of mind with mind contributes fortuitous scintil- 
lations of intelligence to their general enlightment, so 
gregarious animals, birds and bees seem to acquire 
especial quick- wittedness from similar intercourse. The 
English rook, therefore, is more astute, subtle, and cun- 



London to John O' Groat's. 45 

ning than our American crow, and some of his feats of 
legerdemain are quite vulpine. 

. The jackdaw is to the rook what the Esquimaux is to 
the Alogonquin Indian ; of the same form, color, and 
general habits, but smaller in size. They are as fond 
of ancient abbeys and churches as were ever the monks 
of old. Indeed, they have many monkish habits and 
predilections, and chatter over their Latin rituals in 
the storied towers of old Norman cathedrals, and in 
the belfries of ivy-webbed churches in as vivicacious 
confusion. 

There is no country in the world of the same size 
that has so many birds in it as England; and there 
are none so musical and merry. They all sing here 
congregationalwise, just as the people do in the churches 
and chapels of all religious denominations. As these 
buildings were fashioned in early times after the Gothic 
order of elm and oak-tree architecture, so the human 
worshippers therein imitated the birds, as well as the 
branches, of those trees, and learned to sing their sab- 
bath hymns together, young and old, rich and poor, 
in the same general uprising and blending of multi- 
tudinous voices. I believe everything sings that has 
wings in England. And well it might, for here it is 
safe from shot, stones, snares, and other destructives. 
"Young England" is not allowed to sport with fire- 



46 A Walk from 

arms, after the fashion of our American boys. You 
hear no juvenile popping at the small birds of the 
meadow, thicket, or hedgerow, in spring, summer, or 
autumn. After travelling and sojourning nearly ten 
years in the country, I have never seen a boy throw a 
stone at a sparrow, or climb a tree for a bird's-nest. 
The only birds that are not expected to die a natural 
death are the pheasant, partridge, grouse, and wood- 
cock; and these are to be killed according to the strictest 
laws and customs, at a certain season of the year, and 
then only by titled or wealthy men who hold their 
vested interest in the sport among the most rigid and 
sacred rights of property. Thus law, custom, public 
sentiment, climate, soil, and production, all combine to 
give bird-life a development in England that it attains 
in no other country. In no other land is it so multi- 
tudinous and musical ; in none is there such ample and 
varied provision for housing and homeing it. Every 
field is a great bird's-nest. The thick, green hedge 
that surrounds it, and the hedge-trees arising at one 
or two rods' interval, afford nesting and refuge for 
myriads of these meadow singers. The groves and 
thickets are full of them and their music ; so full, 
indeed, that sometimes every leaf seems to pulsate 
with a little piping voice in the general concert. Nor 
are they confined to the fields, groves, and hedges of 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 47 

the quiet country. If the census of the sparrows alone 
in London could be taken, they would count up to a 
larger figure than all the birds of a New England 
county would reach. Then there is another interest- 
ing feature of this companionship. A great deal of it 
lasts through the entire year. There are ten times as 
many birds in England as in America in the winter. 
Here the fields are green through the coldest months. 
No deep and drifting snows cover a frozen earth for ten 
or twelve weeks, as with us. There is plenty of shelter 
and seeds for birds that can stand an occasional frost or 
wintry storm, and a great number of them remain the 
whole year around the English homesteads. 

If such a difference were a full compensation, our 
North American birds make up in dress what they fall 
short of English birds in voice and musical talent. The 
robin redbreast, and the goldfinch come out in brighter 
colors than any other beaux and belles of the season 
here ; but the latter is only a slender- waisted brunette, 
and the former a plump, strutting little coxcomb, in a 
mahogany-coloured waistcoat. There is nothing here 
approaching in vivid colors the New England yellow- 
bird, hang-bird, red-bird, indigo-bird, or even the blue- 
bird. In this, as well as other differences, Nature ad- 
justs the system of compensation which is designed to 
equalise the conditions of different countries. 



48 A Walk from 



CHAPTER IV. 

TALK WITH AN OLD MAN ON THE WAY OLD HOUSES IN ENGLAND 

THEIR AMERICAN RELATIONSHIPS ENGLISH HEDGES AND HEDGE- 
ROW TREES THEIR PROBABLE FATE CHANGE OF BURAL SCENERY 

WITHOUT THEM, 

FROM Tiptree I had a pleasant walk to Coggeshall, 
a unique and antique town, marked by the quaint 
and picturesque architecture of the Elizabethean regime. 
On the way I met an old man, eighty-three years of 
age, busily at work with his wheelbarrow, shovel, and 
bush-broom, gathering up the droppings of manure on 
the road. I stopped and had a long talk with him, 
and learned much of those ingenious and minute in- 
dustries by which thousands of poor men house, feed, 
and clothe themselves and their families in a country 
superabounding with labor. He had nearly filled his 
barrow, after trundling it for four miles. He could 
sell his little load for 4d. to a neighboring farmer ; but 
he intended to keep it for a small garden patch allotted 
to him by his son, with whom he lived. These few 
square yards of land constituted the microscopic point 
of his attachment to that great globe still holding in 
reserve unmeasured territories of productive soil, on 



London to John C? Groat's. 49 

which nor plough, nor spade, nor human foot, nor life, 
has ever left a lasting mark. These made his little 
farm, as large to him and to his octogenarean sinews 
and ambitions as was the Tiptree Estate to Alderman 
Mechi. It filled his mind with as busy occupation and 
as healthy a stimulus. That rude barrow, with its 
clumsy wheel, thinly rimmed with an iron hoop, was 
to hnp. what the steam engine, and two miles of iron 
tubing, and all its hose-power were to that eminent 
agriculturist, of whom the old man spoke in terms of 
high esteem as a neighbor, and even as a competitor. 
Proportionately they were on the same footing ; the one 
with his 170 square acres, the other with his 170 square 
feet. It was pleasant and instructive to hear him 
speak with such sunny and cheery hope of his earthly 
lot and doings. His son was kind and good to him. 
He could read, and get many good books. He ate 
and slept well. He was poor but comfortable. He 
went to church on Sunday, and thought much of 
heaven on week days. His cabbages were a wonder; 
some with heads as large as half a bushel measure. 
He did something very respectable in the potato and 
turnip line. He had grown beans and beets which 
would show well in any market. He always left a 
strip or corner for flowers. He loved to grow them ; 
they did him good, and stirred up young man feelings 



50 A Walk from 

in him. He went on in this way with increased ani- 
mation, following the lead of a few questions I put in 
occasionally to give direction to the narrative of his 
experience. How much I wished I could have photo- 
graphed him as he stood leaning on his shovel, his 
wrinkled face and gray, thin hair moistened with per- 
spiration, while his coat lay inside out on one of the 
handles of his barrow! The July sun, that warmed 
him at his work, would have made an interesting pic- 
ture of him, if some one could have held a camera to 
its eye at the moment. I added a few pennies to his 
stock-in-trade, and continued my walk, thinking much 
of that wonderful arrangement of Providence by which 
the infinite alternations and gradations of human life 
and condition are adjusted; fitting a separate being, 
experience, and attachment to every individual heart ; 
training its tendrils to cling all its life long to one 
slightly individualised locality, which another could 
never call home ; giving itself and all its earthly hopes 
to an occupation which another would esteem a prison 
discipline ; sucking the honey of contentment out of a 
condition which would be wormwood to another person 
on the same social level. 

On reaching Coggeshall, I became again the guest 
of a Friend, who gave me the same old welcome and 
hospitality which I have so often received from the mem- 



London to John O 'Groat's. 51 

bers of that society. After tea, he took me about the 
town, and showed me those buildings so interesting to 
an American low, one-story houses, with thatched 
roofs, clay-colored, wavy walls, rudely-carved lintels, 
and iron-sash windows opening outward on hinges 
like doors, with squares of glass 3 inches by 4 ; houses 
which were built before the keel of the May-Flower 
was laid, which conveyed the Pilgrims to Plymouth 
Eock. Here, now ! see that one on the other side of 
the street, looking out upon a modern and strange 
generation through two ivy-browed eyes just lighted 
up to visible speculation by a single candle on the 
mantel-piece ! A very animated and respectable baby 
was carried out of that door in its mother's arms, and 
baptised in the parish church, before William Shake- 
speare was weaned. There is a younger house near 
by, which was a century old when Washington was 
born. These unique, old dwellings of town, village, 
and hamlet in England, must ever possess an interest 
to the American traveller which the grand and majestic 
cathedrals, that fill him with so much admiration, can- 
not inspire. We link the life of our nation more 
directly to these humbler buildings. Our forefathers 
went out of these houses to the New World. The log 
huts they first erected served them and their families 
as homes for a few years ; then were given to their 
E 2 



52 A Walk from 

horses and cattle for stabling ; then were swept away, 
as too poor for either man or beast. The second gene- 
ration of houses made greater pretentions to comfort,, 
and had their day, then passed away. They were 
nearly all one-story, wooden buildings, with a small 
apartment on each side of a great chimney, and a little 
bedroomage in the garret for children. Then followed 
the large, red New England mansion, broadside to 
the road, two stories high in front, with nearly a rood 
of back roof declining to within five or six feet of the 
ground, and covering a great, dark kitchen, flanked on 
one side by a bed-room, and on the other by the but- 
tery. A ponderous chimney arose out of the middle of 
the building, giving a fireplace of eight feet back to the 
kitchen, and one of half the same dimensions to each of 
the other two large rooms the north and south. For, 
like the republic they founded, its forefathers and ours 
divided their dwellings by a kind of Mason and Dixon's 
Line, into two parts, giving them these sectional appel- 
lations which have represented such antagonisms and 
made us such trouble. Every one of these old-fashioned 
houses had its " North " and " South " rooms on the 
ground-floor, and duplicates, of the same size and 
name, above, divided by the massive, hollow tower 
called a chimney. A double front door, with pannels 
scrolled with rude carving, opened right and left into 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 



53 



the portly building, which, in the tout ensemble, looked 
like a New England gentleman of the olden time, in 
his cocked hat, and hair done up in a queue. These 
were the houses built "when George the Third was 
Bong." In these were born the men of the American 
Revolution. They are the oldest left in the land ; 
and, like the Revolutionary pensioners, they are fast 
disappearing. In a few years, it will be said the last 
of them has been levelled to the ground, just as the 
paragraph will circulate through the newspapers that 
the last soldier of the War of Independence is dead. 

Thus, the young generation in America, now reciting 
in our schools the rudimental facts of the common 
history of the English-speaking race, will come to the 
meridian of manhood at a time when the three first 
generations of American houses shall have been swept 
away. But, travelling over a space of three centuries' 
breadth, they will see, in these old English dwellings, 
where the New World broke off from the Old the 
houses in which the first settlers of New England were 
born; the churches and chapels in which they were 
baptised, and the school-houses in which they learned 
the alphabet of the great language that is to fill the 
earth with the speech of man's rights and Grod's glory. 
One hundred millions, speaking the tongue of Shakes- 
peare and Milton on the American continent, and as 



54 A Walk from 

many millions more on continents more recently settled 
by the same race, across the ocean, and across century- 
seas of time, shall moor their memories to these humble 
dwellings of England's hamlets, and feel how many 
taut and twisted liens attach them to the motherland of 
mighty nations. 

On reckoning up the log of my first day's walk, I 
found I had made full twelve miles by road and field ; 
and was more than satisfied with such a trial of country 
air and exercise, and with the enjoyments of its scenery 
and occupations. The next day I made a longer 
distance still, from Coggeshall to Great Bardfield, or 
about eighteen miles ; and felt at the end that I had 
established a reasonable claim to convalescence. The 
country on the way was marked by the quiet and happy 
features of diversified plenty. The green and gold of 
pastures, meadows, and wheatfields ; the picturesque 
interspersion of cottages, gardens, stately mansions, 
parks and lawns, all enlivened by a well-proportioned 
number of mottled cows feeding or lying along the 
brook-banks, and sheep grazing on the uplands, all 
these elements of rural life and scenery were blended 
with that fortuitous felicity which makes the charm of 
Nature's country pictures. 

At Bardfield I was again homed for the night by a 
Friend ; and after tea made an evening walk with him 



London to John O Groat's. 55 

about the farm of a member of the same society, living 
in the outskirts of the town, who cultivates about 400 
acres of excellent land, and is considered one of the 
most practical and successful agriculturists of Essex. 
His fields were larger and fewer than I had noticed on 
my walk in a farm of equal size. This feature indicates 
the modern improvements in English farming more 
prominently to the cursory observer than any other 
that attracts his eye. It is a rigidly utilitarian 
innovation on the old system, that does not at all 
promise to improve the picturesque aspect of the 
country. To " reconstruct the map " of a county, by 
wire-fencing it into squares of 100 acres each, after 
grubbing up all the hedges and hedge-trees, would 
doubtless add seven and a quarter per cent, to the 
agricultural production of the shire, and gratify many 
a Grradgrind of materialistic economy; but who would 
know England after such a transformation ? One 
would be prone to reiterate Patrick's exclamation of 
surprise, when he first shouldered a gun and tested the 
freedom of the forest in America. Seeing a small bird 
in the top of a tree, he pointed the fowling-piece in that 
direction, turned away his face, and fired. A tree-toad 
fell to the ground from an agitated branch. The 
exulting Irishman ran and picked it up in triumph, and 
held it out at arm's length by one of its hind legs, 



56 A Walk from 

exclaiming, "And how it alters a bird to shoot its 
feathers off, to be sure!" It would alter England 
nearly as much in aspect, if the unsparing despotism of 
s. d. should root out the hedge-row trees, and 
substitute invisible lines of wire for the flowering 
hawthorn as a fencing for those fields which now look 
so much like framed portraits of Nature's best painting. 
The tendency of these utilitarian times may well 
occasion an unpleasant concern in the lovers of English 
rural scenery. What changes may come in the wake 
of the farmer's steam-engine, steam-plough, or under 
the smoke-shadows from his factory-like chimney, 
these recent " improvements " may suggest and induce. 
One can see in any direction he may travel these changes 
going on silently. Those little, unique fields, defined 
by lines and shapes unknown to geometry, are going 
out of the rural landscape. And when they are gone, 
they will be missed more than the amateurs of agri- 
cultural artistry imagine at the present moment. What 
some one has said of the peasantry, may be said, with 
almost equal deprecation, of these picturesque tit-bits 
of land, which, 

" Once destroyed, never can be restored." 

And destroyed they will be, as sure as science. As 
large farms are swallowing up the little ones between 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 57 

them, so large fields are swallowing these interesting 
patches, the broad-bottomed hedging of which some- 
times measures as many square yards as tha space it 
encloses. 

There is much reason to fear that the hedge trees 
will, in the end, meet with a worse fate still. Prac- 
tical farmers are beginning to look upon them with an 
evil eye an eye sharp and severe with pecuniary specu- 
lation; that looks at an oak or elm with no artist's 
reverence ; that darts a hard, dry, timber-estimating 
glance at the trunk and branches; that looks at the 
circumference of its cold shadow on the earth beneath, 
not at the grand contour and glorious leafage of its 
boughs above. The farmer who was taking us over 
his large and highly-cultivated fields, was a man of wide 
intelligence, of excellent tastes, and the means where- 
withal to give them free scope and play. His library 
would have satisfied the ambition of a student of history 
or belles lettres. His gardens, lawn, shrubbery, and 
flowers would grace the mansion of an independent 
gentleman. He had an eye to the picturesque as well 
as practical. But I could not but notice, as significant 
of the tendency to which I have referred, that, on pass- 
ing a large, outbranching oak standing in the boundary 
of two fields, he remarked that the detriment of its 
shadow could not have been less than ten shillings a 



58 A Walk from 

year for half a century. As we proceeded from field to 
field, he recurred to the same subject by calling our 
attention to the circumference of the shadow cast on 
the best land of the farm by a thrifty, luxuriant ash, 
not more than a foot in diameter at the butt. Up to 
the broad rim of its shade, the wheat on each side of 
the hedge was thick, heavy-headed and tall, but within 
the cool and sunless circle the grain and grass were so 
pale and sickly that the bare earth would have been 
relief to a farmer's eye. 

The three great, distinctive graces of an English 
landscape are the hawthorn hedges, the hedge-row 
trees, and the everlasting and unapproachable greeness 
of the grass-fields they surround and embellish. In 
these beautiful features, England surpasses all other 
countries in the world. These make the peculiar charm 
of her rural scenery to a traveller from abroad. These 
are the salient lineaments of Motherland's face which 
the memories of myriads she has sent to people 
countries beyond the sea cling to with such fondness ; 
memories that are transmitted from generation to 
generation; which no political revolutions nor sever- 
ances affect ; which are handed down in the unwritten 
legends of family life in the New World, as well as in 
the warp and woof of American literature and history. 
"Will the utilitarian and unsparing science of these 



London to John O* Groat's. 



59 



latter days, or of the days to come, shear away these 
beautiful tresses, and leave the brow and temples of the 
Old Country they have graced bare and brown under 
the bald and burning sun of material economy ? It is 
not an idle question, nor too early to ask it. It is a 
question which will interest more millions of the Eng- 
lish race on the American continent than these home- 
islands will ever contain. There are influences at work 
which tend to this unhappy issue. Some of these have 
been already indicated, and others more powerful still 
may be mentioned. 

Agriculture in England has to run the gauntlet of 
many pressing competitions, and carry a heavy burden 
of taxation as it runs. These will be noticed hereafter, 
in their proper connection. Farming, therefore, is 
being reduced to a rigid science. Every acre of land 
must be put up to its last ounce of production. Every 
square foot of it must be utilised to the growth of 
something for man or beast. Manures for different 
soils are tested with as much chemical precision as 
ever was quinine for human constitutions. Dynameters 
are applied to prove the power of working machinery. 
Labor is scrutinised and economised, and measured 
closely up to the value of farthing's-worth of capacity. 
A shilling's difference per acre in the cost of ploughing 
by horse-flesh or steam brings the latter into the field. 



60 A Walk from 

The sound of the flail is dying out of the land, and 
soon will be heard no more. Even threshing machines 
worked by horses are being discarded, as too slow and 
old-fashioned. Locomotive steam engines, on broad- 
rimmed wheels, may be met on the turnpike road, tra- 
velling on their own legs from farm to farm to thresh 
out wheat, barley, oats, and beans, for a few pence per 
bushel. They make nothing of ascending a hill without 
help, or of walking across a ploughed field to a rick- 
yard. Iron post and rail fencing, in lengths of twenty 
feet on wheels, drawn about by a donkey, bids fair to 
supersede the old wooden hurdles for sheep fed on 
turnips or clover. It is an iron age, and wire fencing 
is creeping into use, especially in the most scientifically 
cultivated districts of Scotland, where the elements and 
issues of the farmer's balance-sheet are looked to with 
the most eager concern. Iron wire grows faster than 
hawthorn or buckthorn. It doubtless costs less. It 
needs no yearly trimming, like shrubs with sap and 
leaves. It does not occupy a furrow's width as a boun- 
dary between two fields. It may be easily transposed 
to vary enclosures. It is not a nesting place for de- 
structive birds or vermin. These and other arguments, 
of the same utilitarian genus, are making perceptible 
headway. Will they ever carry the day against the 
green hedges ? I think they would, very soon, if the 



London to John O J Groat's. 61 

English farmer owned the land he cultivates. But 
such is rarely the case. Still, this fact may not pre- 
vent the final consummation of this policy of material 
interest. In a great many instances, the tenant might 
compromise with the landlord in such a way as to 
bring about this " modern improvement." And a com- 
paratively few instances, showing a certain per centage 
of increased production per acre to the former, and a 
little additional rentage to the latter, would suffice to 
give the innovation an impulse that would sweep away 
half the hedges of the country, and deface that picture 
which so many generations have loved to such enthu- 
siasm of admiration. 

"Will the trees of the hedge-row be exposed to the 
same end ? I think they will. Though trees are the 
most sacred things the earth begets in England, as 
has already been said, the farmer here looks at them 
with an evil eye, as horseleeches that bleed to death 
long stretches of the land he pays 2 per acre for 
annually to his landlord. The hedge, however wide 
bottomed, is his fence ; and fencing he must have. 
But these trees, arising at narrow intervals from the 
hedge, and spreading out their deadening shades upon 
his wheat-fields on either side, are not useful nor orna- 
mental to him. They may look prettily, and make a 
nice picture in the eyes of the sentimental tourist or 



62 A Walk from 

traveller, but he grudges the ground they cover. He 
could well afford to pay the landlord an additional 
rentage per annum more than equal to the money 
value of the yearly growth of these trees. Besides, 
the landlord has, in all probability, a large park of 
trees around his mansion, and perhaps compact plan- 
tations on land unsuited to agriculture. Thus the high 
value of these hedge-row trees around the fields of his 
tenant, which he will realise on the spot, together with 
some additional pounds in rent annually to himself and 
heirs, would probably facilitate this levelling arrange- 
ment in face of all the restrictions that the law of 
entail might seem to throw in the way. 

If, therefore, the hedges of England disappear before 
the noiseless and furtive progress of utilitarian science, 
the trees that rise above them in such picturesque ranks 
will be almost certain to go with them. Then, indeed, 
a change will come over the face of the country, which 
will make it difficult for one to recognise it who 
daguerreotyped its most beautiful features upon his 
memory before they were obliterated by these latter- 
day " improvements." 



London to John (J Groat's. 63 



CHAPTER V. 

A FOOTPATH WALK AND ITS INCIDENTS HARVEST ASPECTS ENGLISH 

AND AMERICAN SKIES HUMBLER OBJECTS OF CONTEMPLATION 

THE DONKEY: ITS USES AND ABUSES. 

IMMEDIATELY after breakfast the following morn- 
ing, my kind host accompanied me for a mile on 
my walk, and put me on a footpath across the fields, 
by which I might save a considerable distance on the 
way to Saffron Walden, where I proposed to spend 
the sabbath. After giving me minute directions as to 
the course I was to follow, he bade me good-bye, and 
I proceeded on at a brisk pace through fields of wheat 
and clover, greatly enjoying the scenery, the air, and 
exercise. Soon I came to a large field quite recently 
ploughed up clean, footpath and all. Seeing a gate at 
each of the opposite corners, I made my way across the 
furrows to the one at the left, as it seemed to be more 
in the direction indicated by my host. There the path 
was again broad and well-trodden, and I followed it 
through many fields of grain yellowing to the harvest, 
until it opened into the main road. This bore a little 
more to the left than I expected, but, as I had never 



64 A Walk from 

travelled it before, I believed it was all right. Thet- 
ford was half way to Saffron Walden, and there I had 
intended to stop an hour or two for dinner and rest, 
then push on to the end of the day's walk as speedily 
as possible. At about noon, I came suddenly down 
upon the town, which seemed remarkably similar to 
the one I had left, in size, situation, and general fea- 
tures. The parish church, also, bore a strong resem- 
blance to the one I had noticed the previous evening. 
These old Essex towns are " as much alike as two peas," 
and you must make a note of it, as Captain Cuttle says, 
was the thought first suggested by the coincidence. I 
went into a cosy, clean-faced inn on the main street, 
and addressed myself with much satisfaction to a short 
season of rest and refreshment, exchanging hot and 
dusty boots for slippers, and going through other pre- 
liminaries to a comfortable time of it. Rang the bell 
for dinner, but before ordering it, asked the waiting- 
maid, with a complacent idea that I had improved my 
walking pace, and made more than half the way : 

" How far is it to Saffron Walden ?" 

" Twelve miles, Sir." 

" Twelve miles, indeed ! Why, it is only twelve 
miles from Great Bardfield ! " 

" Well, this is Great Bardfield, Sir." 

" Great Bardfield ! What ! How is this ! What 



London to John O Groat's. 65 

do you mean ?" She meant what she said, and it was 
as true as two and two make four ; and she was not to 
be beaten out of it by a stare of astonishment, however 
a discomfited man might expand his eyes with wonder, 
or cloud his face with chagrin. It was a patent fact. 
There, on the opposite side of the street, was the house 
in which I slept the night before ; and here, just coming 
up to the door of the inn, was the good lady of my host. 
Her form and voice, and other identifications, dispelled 
the mist of the mistake ; and it came out as clear as day 
that I had followed the direction of my host, to bear to 
the left, far too liberally, and that I had been walking 
at my best speed in a "vicious circle" for full two hours 
and a half, and had landed just where I commenced, at 
least within the breadth of a narrow street of the same 
point. 

My good friends urged me to stop and dine with 
them, and then make a fair start for the end of my 
week's journey. But it was still twelve miles to Saffron 
Walden, and I was determined to put half of them 
behind me before dinner. So, taking a second leave of 
them in the course of three hours, I set out again on 
my walk, a wiser man in the practical understanding 
of the proverb, " The longest way around is the shortest 
way there." At 2 P.M. I reached Thetford, and recti- 
fied my first notion of the town, formed when I mistook 



66 A Walk from 

it for Bardfield. Having made six miles extra between 
the two points, I resumed my walk after a short delay 
at the latter. 

The weather was glorious. A cloudless sun shone 
upon a little sky-crystalled world of beauty, smaller in 
every dimension than you ever see in America. And 
this is a feature of English scenery that will strike the 
American traveller most impressively at the first glance, 
whether he looks at it by night or day. It is not that 
Nature, in adjusting the symmetries of her scenic struc- 
tures, nicely apportions the skyscape to the landscape of 
a country merely for artistic effect. It is not because 
the island of Great Britain is so small in circumference 
that the sky is proportioned to it, as the crystal is to 
the dial of a watch ; that it is so apparently low ; that 
the stars it holds to its moist, blue bosom are so near at 
midnight, and the sun so large at noon. It comes, 
doubtless, from that constant humidity of the atmo- 
sphere which distinguishes the climate of England, and 
gives to both land and sky an aspect which is quite 
unknown to our great western continent. An Ameri- 
can, after having habituated himself to this aspect, on 
returning to his own country, will be almost surprised 
at a feature of its scenery which he never noticed before. 
He will be struck at the loftiness of the sky ; at the 
vividness of its blue and gold, the sharp, unsoftened, 



London to John O Groat's. 67 

light of the stars, and, as it were, the contracted pupil 
of the sun's eye at mid-day. The sunset glories of our 
western heavens play upon a ground of rigid blue. 
" The Northern Lights," which, at their winter even- 
ing illuminations, seem to have shredded into wavy 
filaments all the rainbows that have spanned the cham- 
bers of the east since the Flood, and to upspring, in 
mirthful fantasy, to hang their infinitely-tinted tresses 
to the zenith's golden diadem of stars even they sport 
upon the same lofty concave of dewless blue, which 
looks through and through the lacework and ever- 
changing drapery of their mingled hues in the most 
witching mazes of their nightly waltz, giving to each 
a definiteness that our homely Saxon tongue might fit 
with a name. 

But here, on the lower grounds of instructive medi- 
tation, is a humbler individuality of the country to 
notice. Here is the most sadly abused and melancholy 
living creature in all England's animal realm that meets 
me in the midst of these reflections on things supernal 
and glorious. I will let the Northern Lights go, with 
their gorgeous pantomimes and midnight revelries, and 
have a moment's communing with this unfortunate 
quadruped. It is called in derision here a "donkey" 
but an ass, in a more generous time, when one of his 
race and size bore upon his back into the Holy City 

F2 



68 A Walk from 

the World's Saviour and Ee-Creator. Poor, libelled, 
hopeless beast ! I pity you from my heart's heart. 
How I wish for Sterne's pen to do you some measure 
of justice or condolence under this heavy load of oppro- 
brium that bends your back and makes your life so 
sunless and bitter ! Come here, sir ! here is a biscuit 
for you, of the finest wheat ; few of your race get such 
morsels ; so, eat it and be thankful. What ears ! No 
wonder our friend Patrick called you " the father of all 
rabbits " at first sight. No ! don't turn away your 
head, as if I were going to strike you. 

Most animals are best described from a certain point 
of view, in a fixed and quiescent attitude. But the 
donkey should be taken in the very act of this charac- 
teristic motion. You put out your hand in the gentlest 
manner to pat any one of them you meet, and he will 
instinctively turn away his head for fear of a beating. 

There is an interesting speculation now coming up 
among modern reveries in regard to the immortality of 
certain animals of great intelligence and domestic vir- 
tues. A large and tender kindness of disposition is the 
father of the thought, it may be ; but the thought seems 
to gain ground and take shape, that so much of appa- 
rently human mind and heart as the dog possesses 
cannot be destined to annihilation at his death, but 
must live and enlarge in another sphere of existence. 



London to John O Groat's. 69 

Having thus opened, if it may be said reverently, a 
back-door into immortality for sagacious and affec- 
tionate dogs and horses, they leave it ajar for the 
admission of animals of less intelligence even for all 
the kinds that Noah took into the ark, perhaps, although 
the theory is still nebulous and undefined. Now, I 
would beg the kind-hearted adherents to this theory 
not to think I am seeking to play off a satirical plea- 
santry upon it, if I express a hope, which is earnest 
and true, that, if there be an immortality for any class 
of dumb animals, the donkey shall go into it first, and 
have a better place in it than their parlor dogs or 
nicely-groomed horses. Evidently they are building 
up a claim to this illustrious distinction of another 
existence for these pets on the sole ground of merit, 
not of works, even, but of mere intelligence, fidelity, 
and affection. Granted ; but the donkey should go in 
first and take the highest place on that basis. When 
you come to that standard of moral measurement, it 
may be claimed as among the highest of human as 
well as animal virtues, " to learn to suffer and be 
strong." And this virtue the donkey has learned and 
practised incomparably beyond any other creature that 
ever walked on four legs since the Flood. Let these 
good people remember that their fanciful and romantic 
favoriteisms are not to rule in the destinies awarded to 



70 A Walk from 

the infinitesimally human spirits of domestic animals 
in another world, if another be in reserve for them. 
Let them remember that their softly-cushioned dogs, 
and horses so delicately clad, and fed, and fondled, 
have had a pretty good time of it in this life, and that 
in another the poor, despised, abused donkey, going 
about begging, with such a long and melancholy face, 
for withered cabbage leaves and woody-grained turnips 
cast out and trodden under feet of happier animals, 
that this meek little creature, kicked, cuffed, and club- 
beaten all the way from hopeless youth to an igno- 
minious grave, will carry into another world merits 
and mementoes of his earthly lot that will obtain, if 
not entitle him to, some compensation in the award of 
a future condition. It is treading on delicate ground 
even to set one foot within the pale of their unscriptural 
theory ; but as many of them hold the Christian faith 
in pureness of living and doctrine, let me remind them 
of that parable which shows so impressively how the 
disparities in human condition here are reversed in the 
destinies of the great hereafter. 

But, to return to the earthly lot and position of this 
poor, libelled animal. Among all the four-footed crea- 
tures domesticated to the service of man, this has always 
been the veriest scapegoat and victim of the cruelist 
and crabbedest of human dispositions. Truly, it has 



London to John O' Groat's. 71 

ever been born unto sorrow, bearing all its life long a 
weight of abuse and contumely which would break the 
heart of a less sensitive animal in a single week. From 
the beginning it has been the poor man's beast of bur- 
den; and "pity 'tis 'tis true," poor men, in all the 
generations of human poverty, have been far too prone 
to harshness of temper and treatment towards the 
beasts that serve them and share their lot of humble 
life. The donkey is made a kind of Ishmaelite in the 
great family of domestic animals. He is made, not 
born so. He is beaten about the head unmercifully 
with a heavy stick, and then jeered at for being stupid 
and obstinate ! just as if any other creature, of four or 
two legs, would not be stupid after such fierce conges- 
tion of the brain. His long ears subject him to a more 
cruel prejudice than ever color engendered in the circle 
of humanity but just above him. True, he is rather 
unsymmetrical in form. His head is disproportionately 
long and large, quite sufficient in these dimensions to 
fit a camel. He is generally a hollow-backed, pot- 
bellied creature, about the size of a yearling calf, with 
ungainly, sloping haunches, and long, coarse hair. 
But nearly all these deformities come out of the 
shameful treatment he gets. You occasionally meet 
one that might hold up its head in any animal so- 
ciety ; with straight back, symmetrical body and limbs, 



72 A Walk from 

and hair as soft and sleek as the fur of a Maltese cat ; 
with contented face, and hopeful and happy eyes, show- 
ing that he has a kind master. 

The donkey is really a useful and valuable animal, 
which might be introduced into America with great 
advantage to our farmers. I know of no animal of its 
size so tough and strong. It is astonishing, as well as 
shocking, to see what loads he is made to draw here. 
The vehicle to which he is usually harnessed is a heavy, 
solid affair, frequently as large as our common horse- 
carts. He is put to all kinds of work, and is almost 
exclusively the poor man's beast of burden and travel. 
In cities and large towns, his cart is loaded with the 
infinitely- varied wares of street trade; with cabbages, 
fish, fruit, or with some of the thousand-and-one nick- 
nacks that find a market among the masses of the 
common people. At watering-places, or on the " com- 
mons " or suburban playgrounds of large towns, he is 
brought out in a handsome saddle, or a well-got-up 
little carriage, and let by the hour or by the ride to 
invalid adults, or to children bubbling over with life. 
Here, although the everlasting club, to which he is 
born, is wielded by his driver, he often looks comfort- 
able and sleek, and sometimes wears a red ribbon at 
each ear. It would not pay to bring on to the ground 
the scrawny, bony creature that generally tugs in the 



London to John O* Groat's. 73 

costermonger's cart. It is in the coal region or trade 
that you meet with him and his driver in their worst 
apostacy from all that is seemly in man or beast. To 
watch the poor creature, begrimed with coal-dust, wrig- 
gling up a long, steep hill, with a load four times his 
own weight, griping with his little sheep-footed hoofs 
into the black, slimy pavement of the road, while his 
tall, sooty-faced and harsh-voiced master, perhaps sit- 
ting on the top or on a shaft, is punching and beating 
him ; to see this is enough to stir up the old adam in 
the meekest Christian to emotions of pugilistic indig- 
nation. It has often cost me a doubtful and protracted 
effort to keep it down. Indeed, I have often yielded to 
it so far as to wish that once more the poor creature 
might be honored of Orod with His gift to Balaam's 
ass, and be able to speak, bolt outright, an indignant 
remonstrance, in human speech, against such treatment. 
It would serve them right ! these lineal descendants of 
Balaam, who have inherited his club and wield it more 
cruelly. 

A word or two more about this animal, and I will 
pass on to others of more dignity of position. He is 
the cheapest as well as smallest beast of burden to be 
found in Christendom. You may buy one here for 
twenty or thirty English shillings. I am confident 
that they would be extremely serviceable in America, 



74 ^ Walk from 

if once introduced. It costs but very little to keep 
them, and they will do all kinds of work up to the 
draft of 600 or 800 Ibs. You frequently see here a 
span of them trotting off in a cart, with brisk and even 
step. Sometimes they are put on as leaders to a team 
of horses. I once saw on my walk a heavy Lincoln- 
shire horse in the shafts, a pony next, and a donkey at 
the head, making a team graduated from 18 hands to 
6 in height; and all pulling evenly, and apparently 
keeping step with each other, notwithstanding the dis- 
parity in the length of their legs. 

It would be unjust to that goodwill to man and 
beast, which is being organised and stimulated in Eng- 
land through an infinite number of societies, if I should 
omit to state that, at last, a little rill of this benevo- 
lence has reached the donkey. That most valuable and 
widely-circulated penny magazine, " The British Work- 
man," and its little companion for British workmen's 
children, " The Band of Hope Eeview," have advocated 
the rights and better treatment of this humble domestic 
for several years. His cause has also been pleaded in a 
packet of little papers called " Leaflets of the Law of 
Kindness for the Children." And now, at last, a 
wealthy and benevolent champion, on whom the mantle 
of Elizabeth Fry, his aunt, has fallen, has taken the 
lead in the work of raising the useful creature to the 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 



75 



level of the other animals of the pasture, stable, and 
barn-yard. Up to the present time, every creature 
that walks on four or two legs, either haired, wooled, 
or feathered, with the single exception of the donkey, 
has had the door of the Agricultural Exhibition thrown 
wide open to it, to enter the lists for prizes or " honour- 
able mention," and for general admiration. A pig, 
whose legs and eyes have all been absorbed out of sight 
by an immense obesity of fat, is often decked with 
a ribbon, of the Order of the Grarter genus, as a reward 
of merit, or of grace of form and proportions ! Turkeys, 
geese, ducks, and hens of different breeds, strut or 
waddle off with similar distinctions. As for blood- 
horses, bulls, cows, and sheep, one not versed in such 
matters might be tempted to think that men, especially 
ths poorer sort, were made for beasts, and not beasts 
for men. And yet, mirabile dictu ! at these great social 
gatherings of man-and-animal kind, there has not been 
even " a negro pew" for the donkey. A genuine raw 
Guinea negro might have as well entered the Prince of 
Wales' Ball in New York barefooted, and offered to 
play a voluntary on his banjo for the dancers, as this 
despised quadruped have hoped to obtain the entree to 
these grand and fashionable assemblies of the shorter- 
eared elite of society. 

But this prejudice against color and long ears is now 



76 A Walk from 

going the way of other barbarisms. The gentleman to 
whom I have referred, a member of Parliament, whose 
means are as large as his benevolence, has taken the 
first and decisive step towards raising the donkey to his 
true place in society. He has offered a liberal prize 
for the best conditioned one exhibited at the next 
Agricultural Fair. Since this offer was made, a very 
decided improvement has been noticed among the 
donkeys of the London costermongers, as if the com- 
petition for the first prize was to be a very large one. 
It will be a kind of St. Crispin's Day to the whole of 
the long-eared race a day of emancipation from forty 
centuries of obloquy and oppression. Doubtless they 
will be admitted hereafter to the Royal Agricultural 
Society's exhibitions, to compete for honors with ani- 
mals that have hitherto spurned such association with 
contempt. 



London to John C? Groat's. 77 



CHAPTER VI. 

HOSPITALITIES OF " FRIENDS " HARVEST ASPECTS: ENGLISH COUNTRY 

INNS ; THEIR APPEARANCE, NAMES AND DISTINCTIVE CHARACTER- 
ISTICS. THE LANDLADY I WAITER, CHAMBERMAID AND BOOTS. EXTRA 
FEES AND EXTRA COMFORTS. 

I BEACHED Safiron Walden at 4 P.M., notwith- 
standing my involuntary walk of six extra miles 
in the morning. Here I remained over the sabbath, 
again enjoying the hospitality of a Friend. And per- 
haps I may say it here and now with as much propriety 
as at any other time and place, that few persons, outside 
the pale of that society, have more frequently or fully 
enjoyed that hospitality than myself. This pleasant 
experience has covered the space of more than sixteen 
years. During this period, with the exception of short 
intervals, I have been occupied with movements which 
the Friends in England have always regarded with 
especial sympathy. This connection has brought me 
into acquaintance with members of the society in almost 
every town in Great Britain in which they reside ; and 
in more than a hundred of their homes I have been 
received as a guest with a kindness which will make to 
mv life's end one of its sunniest memories. 



78 A Walk from 

On the following Monday, I resumed my walk north- 
ward, after a carriage ride which a Friend kindly gave 
me for a few miles on the way. Passed through a 
pre-eminently grain producing district. Apparently full 
three-fourths of the land were covered with wheat, 
barley, oats and beans. The fields of each were larger 
than I had noticed before ; some containing 100 acres. 
The coming harvest is putting forth the full glory of 
its golden promise. The weather is all a farmer could 
wish, beautiful, warm and bright. Nature, in every 
feature of its various scapes, seems to smile with the joy 
of that human happiness which her ministries inspire. 
Here, in these still expanses, waving with luxuriant 
crops, apparently so thinly peopled, one, forgetting the 
immense populations crowded into city spaces, is almost 
tempted to ask, where are all the mouths to eat this 
wide sea of food for man and beast, softening so gently 
into a yellow sheen under the very rim of the distant 
horizon ? But, in the great heart of London, beating 
with the wants of millions, he will be likely to reverse 
the question, and ask, where can one buy bread where- 
with to feed this great multitude ? 

At Sawston, a rustic little village on the southern 
border of Cambridgeshire, I entered upon the enjoy- 
ment of English country-inn life with that relish which 
no one born in a foreign land can so fully feel as an 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 79 

American. As one looks upon the living face of some 
distinguished celebrity for the first time, after having 
had his portrait hung up in the parlor for twenty years, 
so an American looks, for the first time, at that great 
and picturesque speciality among human institutions, 
the village inn of Old England. The like of it he never 
saw in his own country and never will. In fact, he 
would not like to see it there, plucked up out of its 
ancient histories and associations. In the ever-green 
foliage of these it stands inwoven, as with its own net- 
work of ivy. Other countries, even older than England, 
have had their taverns from time immemorial ; but they 
are all kept in the back ground of human life. They 
do not come out in cotemporaneous history with any 
definiteness ; not even accidentally. If a king is mur- 
dered in one of them, or if it is the theatre of the most 
thrilling romance of love, you do not know whether it 
is a building of stone, brick or wood ; whether it is one, 
two or three stories in height. No outlines nor aspects 
are given you to help to fill up a rational picture of it. 
Neither the landlord nor the landlady is drawn as a 
representative man or woman. Either might be mis- 
taken for a guest in their own house, if seen in hat or 
bonnet by a stranger. 

But not so of the English Country Inn. It comes 
out into the foreground of a thousand interesting his- 



8o A Walk from 

tories and pictures of common life. In them it has an 
individuality as marked as the parish church, couchante 
in its wide-rimmed nest of grave stones ; as marked in 
unique architecture, location, and surroundings. In 
none of these features will you find two alike, if you 
travel from one end of the country to the other; 
especially among those a century old. You might as 
well mistake one of the living animals for the other, 
as to mistake " The Blue Boar " for the " Bed Lion." 
They differ as much from each other in general make 
and aspect as do their nominal prototypes. To give every 
one of their thousands " a local habitation and a name " 
of striking distinctness, has required an ingenuity which 
has produced many interesting feats of house-building 
and nomenclature. Both these departments of genius 
figure largely in the poetry and classics of the insti- 
tution, with which the reading million of America have 
been familiar from youth up. And when any of them 
come to travel in England, it will greatly enhance their 
enjoyment to find that the pictures they have admired 
and the descriptions they have read of the famous 
country inn have been true to the very life and letter. 
All its salient features they recognise at once, and are 
ready to exclaim, " How natural ! " meaning by that, 
how true is the original to the picture which they have 
seen so frequently. If they go far enough, they will 



London to John O 'Groat's. 81 

find the very original of every one of the hundred 
pictures they have seen, painted by pen or pencil. 
They will find that all of them have been true copies 
from nature. Here is the portly-looking, well-to-do, 
two-story tavern, standing out with its comfortable, 
cream-colored face broadside to the street. It is repre- 
sented in the old engraving with a coach-and-four 
drawn up before the door, surrounded by a crowd of 
spectators and passengers, some descending or ascend- 
ing on ladders over the forward wheels ; some looking 
with admiration at the scarlet coats of the pursy and 
consequential driver and guard ; some exchanging greet- 
ings, others farewell salutations ; ostlers in long waist- 
coats, plush or fustian shorts, and yellow leggings, 
standing bareheaded with watering-pails at the " 'osses' 
'eads;" trunks great and small going up and down; 
village boys in high excitement ; village grandfathers 
looking very animated ; the landlord, burly, bland, and 
happy, with a face as rotund and genial as the full 
moon shining upon the scene ; and those round, rosy, 
sunny, laughing faces peering out of the windows with 
delightful wonderment and exhiliaration, winked at by 
the driver, and saluted with a graceful motion of his 
whip-handle in recognition of the barmaid, chamber- 
maid, and all the other maids of the house. The coach, 
with all its picturesque appointments, its four-in-hand, 



82 A Walk from 

the stirring heraldry of its horn coming down the road, 
its rattling wheels, the life and stir aroused and moved 
in its wake, all this has gone from the presence of a 
higher civilisation. It will never reappear in future 
pictures of actual life in England. It is all gone where 
the hedges and hedgerow trees will probably go in their 
turn. But the same village inn remains, and can be as 
easily recognised as a widow in weeds, who still wears a 
hopeful face, and makes the best of her bereavement. 

But that humbler type of hostelry so often repre- 
sented in sketches of English rural life and scenery 
the little, cosy, one-story, wayside, or hamlet inn, with 
its thatched roof, checker- work window, low door, and 
with a loaded hay-cart standing in front of it, while the 
driver, in his round wool hat, and in his smock-frock, 
is drinking at a pewter mug of beer, with one hand on 
his horse's neck this the hand of modern improvements 
has not yet reached. This may be found still in a 
thousand villages and hamlets, surrounded with all its 
rural associations ; the green, the geese, and gray 
donkeys feeding side by side ; low-jointed cottages, 
with long, sloping roofs greened over with moss or 
grass, and other objects usually shadowed dimly in the 
background of the picture. It is these quiet hamlets 
and houses in the still depths of the country, away 
from the noise and bluster of railway life and motion, 



London to John O' Groat's. 83 

that best represent and perpetuate the primeval charac- 
teristics of a nation. These the American traveller will 
find invested with all the old charm with which his 
fancy clothed them. It will well repay him for a 
month's walk to see and enjoy them thoroughly. 

In these days of sun-literature, whose letters are 
human faces, and whose new volumes are numbered by 
the million yearly, without a duplicate to one of them, 
I am confident that a volume of these English village 
inns of the olden school, in photographs, would com- 
mand a ,large sale and admiration in America, merely 
as specimens of unique and interesting architecture. A 
thousand might be taken, every one as unlike the other 
in distinctive form and feature, as every one of the same 
number of men would be to the other. 

The diversification of names, being more difficult, is 
still more remarkable. Although the spread eagle 
figures largely as the patron genius of American hotels, 
still nine-tenths of them bear the names of states, coun- 
ties, towns, or national or local celebrities. But here 
natural history comes out strong and wide. The 
heraldry of sovereigns, aristocracy, gentry, commercial 
and industrial interests, puts up its various arms upon 
hundreds of inns in town and country. All occupations 
and recreations are well represented. Thus no country 
in the world approaches England in the wide scope and 
G 2 



84 A Walk from 

play of hotel nomenclature. Some of the combinations 
are exceedingly unique and most interesting in their 
incongruity. Dickens has not exaggerated this cha- 
racteristic ; not even done it justice in his hotel scenes. 
Things are put together on a hundred tavern signs 
that were never joined before in the natural or moral 
world, and put together frequently in most grotesque 
association. For instance, there is a large, first-class 
inn right in the very heart of London, which has for a 
sign, not painted on a board, but let into the wall of 
the upper story, in solid statuary, a huge human 
mouth opened to its utmost capacity, and a bull, round 
and plump, standing stoutly on its four legs between 
the two distended jaws. Now, the leading idea of this 
device is involved in a tempting obscurity, which leads 
one, at first sight, into different lines of conjecture. 
What did the designer of this group of statuary really 
intend to represent ? Was it to let the outside world 
know that, in that inn, the " Eoast Beef of Old Eng- 
land " was always to be found par excellence ? If so, 
would a man's mouth swallowing a bull whole, and 
apparently alive, with hide and horns, tend to stimu- 
late the appetite af a passing traveller, and to draw him 
into the establishment ? But leaving these ambiguous 
symbols to be interpreted by the passing public accord- 
ing to different perceptions of their meaning, how many 



London to John O' Groat's. 85 

in a thousand would guess aright the name given to the 
tavern by these tokens ? Would not ninety-nine in a 
hundred say, " The Mouth and Bull," to be sure, not 
only on the principle that the major includes the minor, 
but also because the human element is entitled to pre- 
cedence in the picture ? But the ninety-nine would be 
completely mistaken, if they adopted this natural con- 
clusion. They would find they had counted without 
their host, who knows better than they the relative 
position and value of things. What has the law of 
logic to do with fat beef! The name of his famous 
hotel is " THE BULL AND MOUTH;" and few in Lon- 
don have attained to its celebrity as a historical build- 
ing. One is apt to wonder if this precedence given to 
the beast is really incidental, or adopted to give euphony 
to the name of an inn, or whether there is a latent and 
spontaneous leaning to such a method of association, 
from some cause or other connected with perceptions 
of personal comfort afforded at such establishments. 
Accidental or intentional, this form of association is 
very common. There is no tavern in London better 
known than The Elephant and Castle, a designation that 
would sound equally well if the two substantives were 
transposed. Even the loftiest symbols of sovereignty 
often occupy the secondary place in these compound 
titles. There are doubtless a hundred inns in Great 



86 A Walk from 

Britain bearing the name of The Rose and Crown, but 
not one, to my knowledge, called "The Crown and 
Eose." The same order obtains in sporting sections and 
terminology. It is always " The Hare and Hounds ;" 
never " Hounds and Hare." 

This characteristic in itself is very interesting, and 
no American, with an eye to the unique, would like to 
see it changed. But if the mere syntax of hotel names 
in England is so pleasant for him to study, how much 
more admirable is their variety ! He has read at home 
of many of them in lively romance and grave history ; 
but he finds here that not half has been told him. He 
is familiar with the Lions, Bed, White, and Black ; the 
Bulls and Boars of the same colors ; the Black and 
White Swans and Harts ; the Crown and Anchor, the 
Royal George, Queen's Head, and a few others of simi- 
lar designation. These names have figured in volumes 
of English literature which he has perused. But let 
him travel on the turnpike road through country towns 
and villages, and he will meet with names he never 
thought of before, mounted over the doors of some of 
the most comfortable and delightful houses of enter- 
tainment for man and beast that can be found in the 
world. Here are a few that I have noticed : " The 
Three Jolly Butchers," " The Old Mash Tub," " The 
Old Mermaid," " The Old Malt Shovel," " The 



London to John O Groat's. 87 

Chequers," " The Dog-in-Doublet," " Bishop Boni- 
face," "The Spotted Cow," "The Green Dragon," 
" The Three Horseshoes," " The Bird-in-Hand," " The 
Spare Eib," " The Old Cock," "Pop goes the Weasel." 
There are wide spaces between these names which may 
be filled up from actual life with numbers of equal 
uniqueness. But it is not in architecture nor in name 
that the country inn presents its most attractive charac- 
teristic. These features merely specialise its outward 
corporeity. The living, brightening, all-pervading soul 
of the establishment is the LANDLADY. Let her name 
be written in capitals evermore. There is nothing so 
naturally, speakingly, and gloriously English in the 
wide world as she. It is doubtful if the nation is aware 
of this, but it is the fact. Her English individuality 
stands out embonpoint, rosy, genial, self-complacent, 
calm, serene, happyfying, and happy. She is the man 
and master of the house. She permeates it with her 
rayful presence, and fills it with a pleasant morning in 
foggy and blue-spirited days. She it is who greets the 
coming and speeds the parting guest with a grace which 
suns, with equal light and warmth, both remembrance 
and anticipation. It is not put on like a Sunday dress ; 
it is not a thin gloss of French politeness that a feather, 
blown the wrong way, will brush off. It it not a color ; 
it is a quality. You see it breathe and move in her 



88 A Walk from 

like a nature, not as an art. Let no American travel- 
ler fancy he has seen England if he has not seen the 
Landlady of the village inn. If he has to miss one, 
he had better give up his visit to the Crystal Palace, 
Stratford-upon-Avon, Abbottsford, or even the House 
of Lords, or Windsor itself. Neither is so perfectly 
and exclusively English as the mistress of " The Brindled 
Cow," in one of the rural counties of the kingdom. 

It would be necessary to coin a new word if one were 
sought to contain and convey the distinctive charac- 
teristic of inn-life in England. Perhaps homefulness 
would do this best, as it would more fully than any 
other term describe the coziness, quiet, and comfort to 
be enjoyed at these places of entertainment. Not one 
in a hundred of them ever heard the sound of the 
hotel-going bell, as we hear it in America. You are 
not thundered up or down by a vociferous gong. Then 
there is no marching nor countermarching of a long 
line of waiters in white jackets around the dinner table, 
laying down plate, knife, fork, and spoon with uniform 
step and motion, as if going through a dress parade or 
a military drill. There is no bustle, no noise, no eager 
nor anxious look of -served or servants. Every one is 
calm, collected, and comfortable. " The cares that 
infest the day" do not ride into the presence of that 
roast beef and plum pudding on the wrinkles of any 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 89 

man's forehead, however business affairs may go with 
him outside, No one is in a hurry to sit down or to 
arise from the table. The whole economy of the esta- 
blishment is to make you as much at home as possible ; 
to individualise you, as far as it can be done, in every 
department of personal comfort. You follow your own 
time and inclination, and eat and drink when and how 
you please, with others or alone. The congregate sys- 
tem is the exception, not the rule. It seldom ever 
obtains at breakfast or tea. In many cases you have a 
little round table all to yourself at these meals. But 
if there is a common table for half a dozen persons, the 
tea and toast and other eatables are never aggregated 
into a common stock. Each person, if he is a single 
guest, has his own allotment, even to a separate teapot. 
The table d'hote, if there be one at all, is made up like 
a select dinner party, rather early in the morning. If 
the guests of the house are not directly invited, they 
are asked, in a tone of hospitality, if they will join in 
the social meal, the only one got up by the establish- 
ment at which the table is not mapped out into separate 
holdings, or little independencies of dishes, each bounded 
by the wants and capacities of the individual occupant. 
The presiding and working faculty of a common 
English inn distinguishes it by another salient cha- 
racteristic from the hotels of other countries. The 



90 A Walk from 

landlady is, of course, the president of the establish- 
ment, whether or not she calls any man lord in the 
retired and family department of the house. But the 
actual geranfes, or working corps, with which you have 
to do immediately, are three independent and distinct 
personages, called the waiter, chambermaid, and boots. 
If it were respectful to gender, these might be called 
the great triumvirate of the English inn. No traveller, 
after a night's lodging and breakfast, will mistake or 
confound the prerogatives or perquisites of these officials. 
If he is an American, and it be his first experience of 
the regime, he will be surprised and puzzled at the 
imperium in imperio which his bill, presented to him 
on a tea-tray, seems to represent. In no other business 
transaction of his life did he ever see the like. It goes 
far beyond anything in the line of limited partnership 
he ever saw. There is only one partial parallel that 
approaches it ; and this comes to his mind as he reads 
the several items on his bill. When made out and 
interpreted, it comes to this : the proprietor, the waiter, 
chambermaid, and boots are independent parties, who get 
up a night's lodging and two or three meals for you 
on the same footing as four independent underwriters 
would take proportionate risks at Lloyds in some ship at 
sea. Or, what would put it in simpler form to an unin- 
itiated guest, he is apparently first charged for the raw 



London to John (J Groat's. 91 

provisions he consumes, and for the rent of his bedroom. 
This is the proprietor's share. Then, there is a sepa- 
rate charge for each of the remaining items of the 
entertainment, for cooking and serving up each meal, 
for making up your bed, and for blacking your boots ; 
just as distinctly as if you had gone out into the town 
the previous evening and hired three separate indi- 
viduals to perform these services for you ; and as if you 
had no right nor reason to expect from the landlord a 
dinner all cooked and served, but that you only bought 
it in the larder. 

Now this is a peculiarity of the English hotel system 
that is apt to embarrass travellers from other countries, 
especially from America, where no such custom could be 
introduced. I do not know how old the custom is in 
Great Britain. Doubtless it originated in the almost 
universal disposition and habit of Englishmen of drop- 
ping gratuities or charity-gifts here and there with 
liberal hand, either to obtain or reward extra service 
in matters of personal comfort; or to alleviate some case 
of actual or simulated suffering that meets them. It 
was natural and inevitable that gratuities thus given to 
hotel servants frequently to stimulate and reward special 
attention should soon become a rule, acting upon guests 
like a law of honor. When so many gave, and when 
the servants of every hotel expected a gift, a man must 



92 A Walk from 

feel shabby to go away without dropping a few pennies 
into the hands of eager expectants who almost claimed 
the gratuity as a right. The worst stage of the system 
was when the expected gift was measured by your sup- 
posed position and ability, or when the waiter or the 
chambermaid, nattering you with what Falstaff would 
call an instinctive perception of your dignity, would 
say with an asking and hopeful smile, " What you 
please, Sir." Now, that was not the question with 
you at all. You wanted to know how much each 
expected, or how much you must give to acquit your- 
self of the charge of being " a screw," when they put 
their heads and gains together in conference and com- 
parison after you were gone. So, on the whole, it was 
a great relief when all these awkward uncertainties of 
expectation were cleared up and rectified in the system 
now usually adopted. 

Whether you be rich or poor, or whatever position or 
pretention be attributed to you, the fees of the universal 
triumvirate are put down specifically in black and white 
among the other charges on your bill. As I hope these 
notes may convey some useful information to Americans 
who may be about to visit England for the first time, it 
may be of some use to them to state what is the usual rule 
in this matter at the middle-class hotels in this country; 
for with those of the first rank I never have made nor 



London to John O* Groat's. 93 

ever expect to make any personal acquaintance. A 
moderate bill for a day's entertainment will read thus : 

*. d. 

Tea (bread and butter or toast) 1 

Bed 1 6 

Breakfast (rasber of bacon, eggs, or cold meats) 1 6 

Dinner 2 6 

Waiter 9 

Chambermaid 6 

Boots . . 03 



Total 8 

These are about the average charges at the middle-class 
hotels in Great Britain. Generally the servants' fees 
amount to 25 per cent, of the whole bill. These, too, 
are graduated to parts of days. The waiter expects 3d. 
for every meal he serves ; the chambermaid 6d. for 
every bed she makes, and the boots 3d. for doing every 
pair of boots, brogans, or shoes. You will pay these 
charges with all the better grace and good- will to these 
servants when you come to learn that these fees fre- 
quently, if not always, constitute all the salary they 
receive for hotel service. Even in a great number of 
eating-shops the same rule obtains. The penny you 
give the waiter, male or female, is all he or she gets for 
serving you. Besides this consideration, you get back 
much additional personal comfort from these extras. 
The waiter serves you with extra satisfaction and 
assiduity under their stimulus. He acts the host very 



94 A Walk from 

blandly. He answers a hundred questions, extraneous 
to the meal, with good-natured readiness. He is a good 
judge of the weather and its signs. He is well 
"posted-up" in the local histories and sceneries of the 
place. He can give political information on both sides, 
incidents and anecdotes to match, whether you are 
Tory, Whig or Radical. If you have a bias in that 
direction, he has or has heard some thoughts on Bishop 
Colenzo and the Tractarians. In short, he caters to the 
humour and disposition of every guest with a happy 
facility of adaptation ; and the shilling you give him at 
the end of a day's entertainment has been pretty well 
earned, if you have availed yourself of all these extra 
attentions which he is prepared and expecting to give 
for it. 

The same may be said of the chambermaid. She is 
not the taciturn invisible that steals in and out of your 
bed-room and does it up when you are at breakfast or 
at your out-door business whom you never see, except 
by sheer accident, as in the American hotel. She is an 
important and prominent personage in the English inn. 
She is a kind of mistress of the robes, and exercises her 
prerogative with much conscious dignity and self-satis- 
faction ; and, what is better, with great satisfaction to 
yourself. No other subordinate official or servant 
trenches or poaches upon her preserves. She it is who 






London to John O* Groat's. 95 

precedes you up stairs with a candle, on a broad- 
bottomed brass candlestick, polished to its highest 
lustre. She conducts you to your room as if you 
were her personal guest, invited and expected a month 
ago. She opens the door with amiable complacency, as 
if welcoming you to a hospitality which she had pre- 
pared for you with especial care, before she knew you 
had arrived in town. She invites you, by a movement 
of her eyes, to glance at the room and see how comfort- 
able it is ; how round and soft is the bed, how white 
and well-aired are the sheets and pillows, how nice the 
curtains, how clean and tidy the carpet, in short, how 
everything is fitted to incline y0u to " rest and be 
thankful." And then the cheery "good night!" she 
bids you is said with a tone that is. worth the sixpence 
she expects in the morning ; and you pay it, too, with 
a much better grace than could be expected from an 
American recently arrived in the country. 

And the " boots " is a character, too, unmixedly and 
interestingly English, in name, person, character and 
position. In the first of these qualities he is unique, 
being called after the subject of his occupation. He is 
an important personage, and generally has his own bell 
in the dining-room, surmounted by his name, to be 
called for any service coming within his department. 
And this is quite a wide one, including a great variety 



96 A Walk from 

of errandry and porterage, as well as polishing boots and 
shoes. He is very helpful in a great many different 
ways, and often very intelligent, and knows all about 
the streets, the railway trains, the omnibuses, cabs, &c., 
and will assist you in such matters with good grace and 
activity. He may have got in the way of putting the 
H before the eggs instead of the ham ; but he is just, 
as good for all that, and more interesting besides. So 
you do not grudge the 3d. you give him daily for his 
strictly professional services, or the extra 6d. he expects 
for carrying your carpet-bag or portmanteau to the 
railway-station. 

Thus, although this feeing of servants may seem at 
first strange to an American traveller in England, and 
may occasion him some perplexity and even annoyance, 
he will soon become accustomed to it ; and in making 
up the balance-sheet of the additional cost on one side 
and the additional comfort on the other which the 
system produces, he will come even to the mathematical 
conclusion, " if to equals you add equals, the sums will 
be equals." 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 



97 



CHAPTER VII. 

LIGHT OF HUMAN LIVES. PHOTOGRAPHS AND BIOGEAPHS. THE LATE 

JONAS WEBB, HIS LIFE, LABORS AND MEMORY. 

THE next morning I resumed my walk and visited 
a locality bearing a name and an association of 
world- wide celebrity and interest. It is the name of a 
small rural hamlet, hardly large enough to be called a 
village, and marked by no trait of nature or art to give 
it distinction. 

There are conditions and characteristics both in the 
natural and moral world which can hardly be described 
fully in Saxon, Latin or Greek terminology, even with 
the largest license of construction. There are attributes 
or qualities attaching to certain locations, of the simp- 
lest natural features, which cannot even be hinted at 
or suggested by the terms, geography, topography, or 
biography. Put the three together and condense or 
collocate their several meanings in one compound qualifi- 
cation which you can write and another spell, and you 
do not compass the signification you want to convey. 
The soul of man has its immortality, and the feeblest 
H 



98 A Walk from 

minded peasant believes he shall wear it through the 
ages of the great hereafter. The literature of human 
thoughts claims a life that shall endure as long as the 
future existence of humanity. The memory of many 
human actions and lives puts in a plea and promise of a 
duration that shall distance the sun's, and overlap upon 
the bright centuries of eternity. The human body, 
even, is promised its resurrection by the divinest 
authority and illustration, and waits hopefully, under 
all its pains and weaknesses, for the glory to be revealed 
in it, when the earth on which it dwells shall have 
become "a forgotten circumstance." Human loves, 
remembrances, faiths and fellowships lift up all their 
meek hands to the Father of Spirits, praying to be 
lifted up into His great immortality, and to be permit- 
ted to take with them unbroken the associations that 
sweetened this earthly life. Many humble souls that 
have passed through the furnace of affliction, poverty, 
and trial seven times heated, and heated daily here, 
have believed that He who went up through the same 
suffering to His great White Throne, would let them 
sing beside the crystal waters the same good old psalm 
tunes and songs of Sion which they sang under the 
willows of this lower world of tears and tribulation. 
How all the sparks of the undying life in man fly 
upward to the zenith of this immortality ! You may 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 



99 



call the steep flights of this faith pleasant and poetical 
diversions of a fervid imagination, but they are winged 
with the pinions that angels lift when they soar ; pinions 
less etherial than theirs, but formed and plumed to 
beat upward on the Milky Way to their Source, instead 
of swimming in the thinly-starred cerulean, in which 
spirits, never touched with the down or dust of human 
attributes, descend and ascend on their missions to the 
earth. Who can have the heart to handle harshly 
these beautiful faiths? to say, this hope may go up, 
but this must go down to the darkness of annihilation! 
Was it irreverent in the pious singing master of a New 
England village, when he said, that often, while re- 
turning home late on bright winter nights, he had 
dropped the reins upon his horse's neck, and sung Old 
Hundred from the stars, set as notes to that holy tune, 
when they first sang together in the morning of the 
creation ? What spiritual good or Christian end would 
be gained, to break up the charm and cheer of this his 
belief? or to dispel that other confidence, which so 
helped him to bear earth's trials, that one day he should 
join all the spirits of the just made perfect, and all the 
high angels in heaven, and, on the plane of that golden 
gamut, they should sing together their hymns of joy 
and praise, in that same, good old tune, from those same 
star-notes, which a thousand centuries should not deflect 
. H 2 



ioo A Walk from 

nor transpose from their first order within those ever- 
lasting staves and bars ! 

If the spirit's faith be allowed such wide confidences 
as these ; if it may carry up into the invisible and 
infinite so many precious relics from the wreck of time, 
so many human circumstances and associations, why 
may it not take with it, to hang up in its heaven, 
photographs of those earthly localities rendered immor- 
tal here by the lives of good and great men ? Such a 
life is a sun, and it casts a disk of light upon the very 
earth on which it shines ; not that flashy circle which 
the lens of the microscope casts upon the opposite wall, 
to show how scarcely visible mites may be magni- 
fied ; but a soft and steady illumination that does not 
dim under the beating storms and bleaching dews of 
centuries, but grows brighter and brighter, as if the 
seed-rays that made it first multiplied themselves from 
year to year. The earth becomes more and more thickly 
dotted with these permanent disks of light, and each is 
visited by pilgrims, who go and stand with reverence 
and admiration within the cheering circle. Shakespeare's 
thought-life threw out a brilliant illumination, of wide 
circumference, at Stratford-upon-Avon, and no locality 
in England bears a biograph more venerated than the 
birth-place of the great poet. His thought-life was a 
sun that never will set as long as this above us shines. 



London to John O Groat's. 101 

It is rising every year to new generations that never 
saw its rays before. "When he laid down his pen, at 
the end of his last drama, the whole English-speaking 
race in both hemispheres did not number twice the pre- 
sent population of London. Xow, .seventy-five millions, 
peopling mighty continents, speak the tongue he raised 
to be the grandest of all earth's speeches ; and those 
who people the antipodes claim to offer the best homage 
to his genius. Thus it will go on to the end of time. 
As the language he clothed with such power and might 
shall spread itself over the earth, and be spoken, too, 
by races born to another tongue, his life-rays will per- 
meate the minds of countless myriads, and the more 
widely they diverge and the farther they reach, the 
brighter and warmer will be the glow and the flow of 
that disk of light that embosoms and illumines his birth- 
place in England. 

What is true of Straiford-upon-Avon, is equally true 
of Abbotsford, of the birth-place of Milton, Burns, 
Bunyan, Baxter, and other great mind*, which have 
shone each like a sun or star in its sphere. Xow what 
one word, recognised as legitimate in scientific termin- 
ology, would describe fully one of these disks of light 
cast by a human life upon a certain space of earth, not 
as a fugitive flash, but as a permanent illumination ? 
Photograph would not do it, because its meaning is 



102 A Walk from 

fixed and rigidly technical, as simple light- writing, or 
sun-writing. The term is completely pre-occupied by 
this signification, and you cannot inject the human life- 
element into it. Biography is universally limited to an 
operation in which the life is the subject, not the agent. 
It is simply the writing out of a life's history by some 
one with a common goosequill or steel pen. Still, the 
word biograph would be the best, of the same length, 
that we could form to describe one of these disks of light, 
if it were made the same verb active as photograph; or to 
mean that the life is the agent, as well as the subject, 
that it writes itself in light upon a certain locality, just 
as the sun graves a human face upon glass. Let us then 
call the bright and quenchless planispheres, which such 
lives describe and fill around them, biographs, assuming 
that the script is in rays of light. As differ the stars 
above in glory, so these differ in the qualities of their 
illumination. The brightest of them, to mere human 
seeming, are those which shine with the sheer brilliancy 
of intellect and genius. These chiefly halo the homes 
of " the grand old masters " of poetry, painting, elo- 
quence and martial glory. These attract to their disks 
pilgrims the most numerous and enthusiastic. But, 
as the nearest stars are brightest, not largest, so these 
biographs are brightest on their earth-side. There are 
thousands of less sharp and spangling lustre to the 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 103 

eyes of the multitude, which shine with tenfold more 
brilliancy from their eternity-face. These are they that 
halo the homes of good men, whose great hearts drank 
in the life of Grod's love in perpetual streams, and 
distilled it like a luminous dew around them ; men 
whose thoughts were not mere scintillations of genius, 
but living labors of beneficence, bearing the proof as 
well as promise of that immortality guaranteed to the 
deeds of earth's saints. If the soul, after such long 
isolation, is to take again to its embrace so much of the 
old human corporeity it wore here below, does it trans- 
cend the prerogative of hope in the great resurrection 
to believe, that these biographs of (rod's loving children 
on earth shall be taken up whole into the same immor- 
tality as the bodies in which they worked His will 
among men? Is the faith too fanciful or irreverent 
that believes, that the corridors and inner temples of 
Heaven's Glory will be hung with these biographs of 
His servants surrounding, like stars, the light-flood of 
His love that radiated from His cross on earth ? Is it 
too presumptuous to think and say, that such pictures 
will be as precious in His sight as any graven by the 
lives of angels on their outward or homeward flights of 
duty and delight? These are they, therefore, that 
shall give to the earth all the immortality to which it 
shall attain. These are they that shall take up into the 




104 A Walk from 

brilliant existence of the hereafter, ten thousand sections 
of its corporeity; portions of its surface, perhaps, as 
substantial as the human forms that the souls of men 
shall wear in another world. These are they that shall 
shine as the stars, when those beaming so brilliantly in 
our eyes around the shrines of mere intellect and 
genius, shall have " paled their ineffectual fires " before 
the eflux of diviner light. Let him, then, of thoughtful 
and attentive faculties think on these great and holy 
possibilities, when he treads within the pale of a good 
man's life, whose labors for human happiness " follow 
him" according to divine promise; not out of the 
world, not down into the grave with his resting body, 
but out among living generations, breathing upon them 
and through them a blessed and everlasting influence. 
Let him tread that disk of light reverentially, for it 
is the holiest place on the earth's surface outside the 
immediate circumference of Calvary. 

This is Babraham ; and here lived Jonas Webb ; a 
good man and true, whose influence and usefulness had 
a broader circumference than the widest empire in the 
world. A Frenchman has written the fullest history of 
both, and an American here offers reverentially a tribute 
to his worth. The light of his life was a soft and gentle 
illumination on its earth-side ; the lustre of the other 
was revealed only by partial glimpses to those who 



London to John O 'Groat's. 105 

leaned closest to him in the testing-moments of his 
higher nature. He was one of the great benefactors, 
whose lives and labors become the common inheritance 
of mankind, and whose names go down through long 
generations with a pleasant memory. To a certain 
extent, he was to the great primeval industry of the 
world what Arkwright, Watts, Stephenson, Fulton and 
Morse were each to the mechanical and scientific 
activities of the age. He did as much, perhaps, as 
any man that ever preceded him, to honor that 
industry, and lift it up to the level of the first 
occupations of modern times, which had claimed 
higher qualities of intelligence, genius and enterprize. 
He was a farmer, and his ancestors had been farmers 
from time immemorial. He did not bound into the 
occupation as an enthusiastic amateur, who had 
acquired a large fortune by manufacturing or com- 
mercial enterprize, which he was eager to lavish upon 
bold and uncertain experiments. He attained his 
highest eminence by the careful gradations of a con- 
tinuous experience, reaching back far into the labors 
of his ancestors. The science, skill and judgment he 
brought to bear upon his operations, came from his 
reading, thinking, observations and experiments as a 
practical and hereditary farmer. The capital he 
employed in expanding these operations to their cul- 



io6 A Walk from 

minating magnitude, he acquired by farming. The 
mental culture, the generous dispositions, the refined 
manners, the graceful and manly bearing which made 
him one of the first gentlemen of the age, he acquired 
as a farmer. The mansion which welcomed to its easy 
and large-hearted hospitalities guests of such distinction 
from his own and other countries, was a farmer's home, 
and few ever opened their doors to more urbanity and 
cordial cheer. This is an aspect of his character which 
all those who follow the profession he honored should 
admire with a laudable esprit de corps. 

As a back-ground is an important element in the 
portraiture of human forms or natural scenery, so the 
ground on which the life and labors of Jonas Webb 
should be sketched, merits a few preliminary lines. Of 
all the occupations that employ and sustain the toiling 
myriads of our race, agriculture leans closest to the 
bosom of Divine Providence. It is an industry bound 
to the great and beautiful economies of the creation by 
more visible and sensible ties than any other worked by 
human hands. We will not here diverge to dwell upon 
these high and interesting affiliations. In their place 
we will give them a little extended thought. There is 
one feature of agricultural enterprize, however, that 
should not be overlooked in this connection. All its 
operations are above-board and open to the wide world, 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 107 

just like the fields to which they are applied. Nothing 
here is under lock and key. Nothing bears the grim 
warning over the bolted door, " No admittance here 
except on business!" meaning by business, exclusively 
and sharply, the buying of certain wares of the establish- 
ment at a good round profit to the manufacturer, without 
carrying away a single scintillation or suggestion of 
his skill. If he has invented or adopted machinery or 
a process of labor which enables him to turn out cheap 
muslin at three farthing's less cost per yard than his 
neighbors can make it, seal up the secret from them 
with the keenest vigilance. Not so in the great 
and heaven-honored industry of agriculture. Its 
experiments and improvements upon the earth's face 
are all put into the common stock of human knowledge 
and happiness. They can no more be placed under lock 
and key as selfish secrets, than the stars themselves that 
look down upon them with all their golden eyes. No 
new implement of husbandry, no new mechanical force 
or chemical principle, no new process of labor or line 
of economy is withheld from the great commonwealth 
of mankind. As the broad skies above, as the sun and 
moon, and stars, as the winds, the rains, the dews, the 
birds and bees of heaven over-ride and ignore, in their 
missions, the boundaries of jealous nations, so all the 
great activities of agriculture prove their lineage by 



io8 A Walk from 

following the same generous rule. They are bounded 
by no nationalities. They are shut up in no narrow 
enclosure of self, but are put out as new vesicles of light 
to brighten the general illumination of the world. 

The department in which Jonas Webb attained to 
his position and capacity of usefulness was peculiarly 
marked by this characteristic. In a certain sense, it 
occupied a higher range of interest than that section of 
agriculture which is connected solely with the growing 
of grain, grass and other crops. His great and 
distinguishing husbandry was the cultivation of animal 
life. To make two spires of grass grow where only one 
grew before, has been pronounced as a great benefaction; 
and greater still are the merit and the gain of making 
one grow where nothing grew before. To go into the 
midst of Dartmoor, and turn an acre of its cold, stony, 
water-soaked waste into a fruitful field of golden grain, 
is going into co-partnership with Providence in the 
work of creation to a very large and honored degree. 
But to put the skilful hand of science upon creatures of 
flesh and blood, to reform their physical structures and 
shapes, to add new inches to their stature, straighten 
their backs, expand their reins, amplify their chests, 
reduce all the lines and curves of their forms to an 
unborn symmetry, and then to give silky softness and 
texture to their aboriginal clothing this seems to be 



London to John C? Groat's. 109 

mounting one step higher in the attainment and dignity 
of creative faculties. And this pre-eminently was the 
department in which Jonas Webb acquired a distinction 
perhaps unparalleled to the present time. This has 
made his name familiar all over Christendom, and 
honored among the world's benefactors. Never, before 
him, did a farm-stead become such a centre and have 
such a wide-sweeping radius as his. None ever 
possessed such centripetal attractions, or exerted such 
centrifugal influences for the material well-being of 
different and distant countries. Indeed, those most 
remote are most specially indebted to his large and 
generous operations. America and Australia will ever 
owe his memory an everlasting homage. 

His operations filled and crowned two great depart- 
ments of improvement seldom, if ever, carried on simul- 
taneously and evenly to a great success by one man. 
His first distinguishing speciality was sheep-culture. 
When he had brought this to the highest standard 
of perfection ever attained, he devoted the surplus 
capital of skill, experience and pecuniary means he had 
acquired from the process to the breeding of cattle; 
and he became nearly as eminent in this field of improve- 
ment as in the other. A few facts may serve as an out- 
line of his progress in both to the American reader who 
is familiar with the general result of his efforts. 



i io A Walk from 

Jonas Webb was born at Great Thurlow, Suffolk, on 
the 10th of November, 1796. His father, who died at 
the age of ninety-three, was a veteran in agriculture, 
and had attained to honorable distinction by his efforts 
to improve the old Norfolk breed of sheep, and by his 
experiments with other races. The results obtained 
from these operations convinced his son that more 
mutton and better wool could be made per acre from 
the Southdown than from any other breed, upon nine- 
tenths of the arable land of England, where the sheep 
are regularly folded, especially where the land is poor. 
In 1822, he commenced that agricultural career which 
won for him such a world- wide celebrity, by taking the 
Babraham Farm, occupying about 1000 acres, some 
twelve miles south of Cambridge. In a very interesting 
letter, addressed to the Farmers' Magazine, about twenty 
years since, he gives a valuable resume of his experience 
up to that time. In this he states several facts that 
may be especially useful to American agriculturists. 
Having decided in his own mind that the Southdowns 
were preferable to every other breed, for the two 
properties mentioned, he went into Sussex, their native 
county, and purchased the best rams and ewes that 
could be obtained of the principal breeders, regardless 
of expense, and never made a cross from any other 
breed afterwards. Nor was this all ; he never intro- 



London to John O' Groafs. 1 1 1 

duced new blood into his stock from flocks of the same 
breed, but, by a virtually in-and-in process, he was able 
to produce qualities till then unknown to the race, and 
to make them permanent and distinctive properties. 
Now this achievement in itself has an interest beyond 
its utilitarian value to the agriculture world. To 

" Rejoice in the joy of well-created things " 
is one of the best privileges and pleasures of a well- 
constituted mind. But what higher honor can attach 
to human science or industry than that of taking such 
a visible and effective part in that creation ? in sending 
out into the world successive generations of animal life, 
bearing each, through future ages and distant countries, 
the shaping impress of human fingers long since gone 
back to their dust; features, forms, lines, curves, 
qualities and characteristics which those fingers, working 
as it were, on the right wrist of Divine Providence, 
gave to the sheep and cattle upon a thousand hills, in 
both hemispheres ? There are flocks and herds now 
grazing upon the boundless prairies of America, the 
vast plains of Australia, the steppes of Russia, as well 
as on the smaller and greener pastures of England, 
France and Germany, that bear these finger-marks of 
Jonas Webb, as mindless but everlasting memories to 
his worth. If the owners of these "well-created things" 
value the joy and profit which they thus derive from 



ii2 A Walk from 

his long and laborious years of devotion to their 
interests, let them see that these finger-prints of his 
be not obliterated by their neglect, but be perpetuated 
for ever, both for their own good and for an ever-living 
memorial to his name. 

It is a fact of instructive suggestion, that although 
Mr. Webb commenced his operations in 1822, he won 
his first prize for stock ewes at the meeting of the 
Royal Agricultural Society at Cambridge in 1840. 
Here he realised one of the serious disadvantages to 
which stock-breeders in England are exposed, in 
" showing " sheep, cattle or swine at these annual 
exhibitions. The great outside world, with tastes that 
lean more to fat surloins or shoulders than to the 
better symmetries of animated nature, almost de- 
mands that every one of these unfortunate beasts 
should be offered up as a bloated, blowing sacrifice to 
those great twin idols of fleshy lust, Tallow and Lard. 
If, therefore, a stock-raiser has not decided to drive his 
Shorthorn cow or Southdown ewe immediately from 
the Fair grounds to the butcher's shambles, he runs 
an imminent risk of losing entirely the use and value 
of the animal. So great is this risk, that much of the 
stock which would be most useful for exhibition is 
withheld, and can only be seen by visiting private 
establishments scattered over the kingdom. They are 



London to John O' Croat's. 113 

too valuable to run the terrible gauntlet of oil-cake, 
bean and barley-meal, through which they must 
flounder on in cruel obesity to the prize. Especially 
is this the case with breeding animals. Mr. Webb's 
experience at his first trial of the process, will illustrate 
its tendencies and results. Of the nine shearling ewes 
he " fed " for the Cambridge Show, he lost four, and 
only raised two or three lambs from the rest. At the 
Exhibition of 1841, at Liverpool, he won three out 
of four of the prizes offered by the Royal Agricultural 
Society for Southdowns, or any other short-wooled 
sheep ; two out of four offered at Bristol, in 1842, and 
three out of four at Derby, in 1843. But here again 
he over-fed two of his best sheep, under the inexorable 
rule of fat, which exercises such despotic sway over 
these annual competitions, and was obliged to kill 
them before the show. It will suffice to show the loss 
he incurred by this costly homage to Tallow, to give 
his own words on the subject : " I had refused 180 
guineas for the hire of the two sheep for the season, 
I also quite destroyed the usefulness of two other aged 
sheep by over-feeding them last year. Neither of 
them propogated through the season, and I have had 
each of them killed in consequence, which has so 
completely tired me of over-feeding that I never intend 
exhibiting another aged ram, unless I greatly alter my 



ii4 A Walk from 

mind, or can find out some method of feeding them 
which will not destroy the animals, and which I have 
hitherto failed to accomplish." The conclusion which 
he adopted, in view of these liabilities, may he useful 
to agriculturists in America as well as in England. 
He says : " What I intend exhibiting in future will 
be shearlings only, as I believe they are not so easily 
injured by extra feeding as aged sheep, partly by 
being more active, and partly by having more time 
to put on their extra condition, by which their consti- 
tutions are not likely to be so much impaired." 

At nearly every subsequent national exhibition, Mr. 
Webb carried off the best prizes for Southdowns. At 
Dundee, in 1843, the Highland Society paid him the 
compliment of having the likenesses of his sheep taken 
for its museum in Edinburgh. He only received two 
checks in these competitions after 1840, and these he 
rectified and overcame in an interesting way. The 
first took place at the great meeting at Exeter, in 
1850, and the second at Chelmsford, in 1856. On 
both of these occasions, he was convinced that the 
judges had not done justice to the qualities of his 
animals, and he resolved to submit their judgment to 
a court of errors, or to the decision of a subsequent 
meeting of the society. So, in 1851, he presented the 
unsuccessful candidate at Exeter to the meeting at 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 115 

Windsor, and took the first prize for it. This fully 
reversed the Exeter verdict. He resorted to the same 
tribunal to set him right in regard to his apparent 
defeat at Chelmsford, in 1856. Next year he presented 
the ram beaten there to the Salisbury meeting, and 
another jury gave the animal the highest meed of merit. 
It was at the zenith of his fame as a sheep-breeder 
that Mr. Webb " assisted," as the French say, at the 
Universal Exposition at Paris, in 1855. Here his 
beautiful animals excited the liveliest admiration. The 
Emperor came himself to examine them, and expressed 
himself highly pleased at their splendid qualities. It 
was on this occasion that Mr. Webb presented to the 
Emperor his prize ram, for which, probably, he had 
refused the largest sum ever offered for a single 
animal of the same race, or 500 guineas ($2,500) 
The Emperor accepted the noble present, fully appre- 
ciating the spirit in which it was offered, and some time 
afterwards sent the generous breeder a magnificent 
candelabra, of solid silver, representing a grand old 
English oak, with a group of horses shading them- 
selves under its branches. This splendid token of the 
Emperor's regard is only one of the numerous trophies 
and souvenirs that embellish the farmer's home at 
Babraham, and which his children and remoter pos- 
terity will treasure as precious heir-looms, 
i 2 



1 1 6 A Walk from 

If Mr. Webb did not originate, he developed a 
system of usefulness into a permanent and most valu- 
able institution, which, perhaps, will be the most novel 
to American stock-raisers. Having, by a long course 
of scientific observations and experiments, fixed the 
qualities he desired to give his Southdowns; having 
brought them to the highest perfection, he now adopted 
a system which would most widely and cheaply diffuse 
the race thus cultivated all over the civilized world. 
He instituted an annual ram-letting, which took place 
in the month of July. This occasion constituted an 
important event to the great agricultural world. A 
few Americans have been present and witnessed the 
proceedings of these memorable days, and they know 
the interest attaching to them better than can be 
inferred from any description. M. De La Trehonnais, 
in the "Revue Agricole de 1'Angleterre," thus sketches 
some of the incidents and aspects of the occasion : 

" It is a proceeding regarded in England as a public 
event, and all the journals give an account of it with 
exact care, assembling from every county and even 
from foreign countries. The sale begins about two 
o'clock. A circle is formed with ropes in a small 
field near the mansion, where the rams are introduced, 
and an auctioneer announces the biddings, which are 
frequently very spirited. The rams to be let are 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 117 

exposed around the field from the first of the morning, 
and a ticket at the head of each pen indicates the 
weight of the fleece of the animal it contains. Every 
one takes his notes, chooses the animal he approves of, 
and can demand the last bidding when he pleases. 
The evening after the letting, the numerous company 
assemble under a rustic shed, ornamented with leaves 
and agricultural devices. There tables are laid, around 
which are placed two or three hundred guests, and 
then commences one of those antique repasts described 
by Homer or Eabelais. The tables groan under the 
weight of enormous pieces of beef, gigantic hams, &c., 
which have almost disappeared before the commence- 
ment of the sale. From eight in the morning until 
two in the afternoon, tables laid out in the dining- 
room and hall are furnished, only to be refurnished 
immediately, the end being equal to the beginning." 

This description refers to the thirty-second letting. 
Mr. Webb's flock then consisted of seven hundred 
breeding ewes, a proportionate number of lambs, and 
about four hundred rams of different ages. It was 
from these rams that the animals were selected which 
were sent into Qvery country in the civilized world. 
The average price of their lettings was nearly 24 each, 
although some of the rams brought the sum of 180, or 
nearly nine hundred dollars! What would some of the 



1 1 8 A Walk from 

old-fashioned farmers of New England, of forty years 
ago, think of paying nearly a thousand dollars for the 
rent of a ram for a single year, or even one tenth of 
that sum ? But this rentage was not a fancy price. 
The farmer who paid it got back his money many 
times over in the course of a few years. From this 
infusion of the Babraham blood into his flock, he 
realised an augmented production of mutton and wool 
annually per acre which he could count definitely by 
pounds. The verdict of his balance-sheet proved the 
profit of the investment. It would be impossible to 
measure the benefit which the whole world reaped 
from Mr. Webb's labors in this department of useful- 
ness. An eminent authority has stated that "it would 
be difficult, if not impossible, to find a Southdown 
flock of any reputation, in any country in the world, 
not closely allied with the Babraham flock." It is a 
fact that illustrates the skill and care, as well as 
demonstrates the value of his system of improvement, 
that, after thirty-seven years as a breeder, the tribes 
he founded maintained to the last those distinguishing 
qualities which gave them such pre-eminence over all 
other sheep bearing the general name of the Sussex 
race. So valuable and distinctive were those qualities 
regarded by the best judges in the country, that 
the twelfth ram-letting, which took place at the time 



London to John O' Groat's. 119 

of the Cambridge Show, brought together 2,000 visitors, 
constituting, perhaps, the most distinguished assembly 
of agriculturists ever convened. On this occasion the 
Duke of Richmond, an hereditary and eminent breeder 
of Southdowns in their native county, bid 100 guineas 
for a ram lamb, which Mr. Webb himself bought in. 

Having attained to such eminence as a sheep- 
breeder, Mr. Webb entered upon another sphere of 
improvement, in which he won almost equal distinction. 
In 1837, he laid the foundation of the Babraham Herd 
of Shorthorn cattle, made up of six different tribes, 
purchased from the most valuable and celebrated 
branches of the race bearing that name. An incident 
attaching to one of these purchases may illustrate the 
nice care and cultivated skill which Mr. Webb exer- 
cised in the treatment of choice animals. He bought 
out of Lord Spencer's herd the celebrated cow, 
" Dodona." That eminent breeder, it appears, had 
given her up, as irretrievably sterile, and he parted 
with her solely on that account. Mr. Webb, however, 
took her to Babraham, and, as a result of the more 
intelligent treatment he bestowed upon her, she pro- 
duced successively four calves, which thus formed 
one of the most valuable families of the Babraham 
herd. When I visited the scene of his life and 
labors, all his sheep and cattle had been sold. But 



I2O A Walk from 

two or three animals bought by an Australian gentle- 
man were still in the keeping of Mr. Webb's son, 
awaiting arrangements for their transportation. One 
of these, a beautiful heifer of 14 months, was purchased 
at the winding-up sale, for 225 guineas. It was called, 
the " Drawing-room Eose," from this circumstance, as 
I afterwards learned. When it was first dropped by 
the dam, Mr. Webb was confined to the house by indis- 
position. But he had such a desire to see this new 
accession to his bovine family, that he directed it to 
be brought into the drawing-room for that purpose. 
Hence it received a more elegant and domestic 
appellation than the variegated nomenclature of high- 
blooded animals often allows. 

When the last volume of the " English Herd-Book " 
was about to be published, Mr. Webb sent for insertion a 
list of sixty-one cows, with their products. He generally 
kept from twenty to thirty bulls in his stalls. 

Nor were his labors confined even to the two great 
spheres of enterprise with which his name has been 
intimately and honorably associated. If it was the 
great aim of his intelligent activities to produce stock 
which should yield the most meat to the acre, he also 
gave great attention to the augmented production 
of the land itself. He was the principal originator 
and promoter of the great Agricultural Hall, in 



London to John O Groat's. 121 

London, for the exhibition of the fat stock for the 
Smithfield Show. This may be called the Crystal 
Palace of the animal world. It is the grandest 
structure ever erected for the exhibition of cattle, 
sheep, swine, poultry &c. I will essay no description 
of it here, but it will carry through long generations 
the name and memory of Jonas Webb of Babraham. 
He was chairman of the company that built the 
superb edifice ; also president of the Nitro-phosphate 
or Blood-manure Company, a fertilizer in which he 
had the greatest confidence, and which he used in 
great quantities upon the large farm he cultivated, 
containing over 2000 acres. 

At the age of nearly sixty-six, Mr. Webb found 
that his health would no longer stand the strain of 
the toil, care and anxiety requisite to keep np the 
Babraham , flock to the high standard of perfection 
which it had attained. So, after nearly forty years 
of devotion to this great occupation of his life, he 
concluded to retire from it altogether, dispersing his 
sheep and cattle as widely as purchasers might be 
found. This breaking-up took place at Babraham on 
the 10th of July, 1862. Then and there the long 
series of annual re-unions terminated for ever. The 
occasion had a mournful interest to many who had 
attended those meetings from year to year. It seemed 



122 A Walk from 

like the voluntary and unexpected abdication of an 
Alexander, still able to add to his conquests and 
trophies. All present felt this; and several tried to 
express it at the old table now spread for the last 
time for such guests. But his inherent and invincible 
modesty waived aside or intercepted the compliments 
that came from so many lips. With a kind of 
ingenious delicacy, which one of the finest of human 
sentiments could only inspire, he contrived to divert 
attention or reference to himself and his life's labors. 
But he could not make the company forget them, 
even if he gently checked allusion to them. 

The company on this interesting occasion was very 
large, about 1000 persons having sat down to the 
collation. Not only were the principal nobility and 
gentry of Great Britain interested in agricultural 
pursuits present in large number, but the representa- 
tives of nearly every other country in Christendom. 
Several gentlemen from the United States were among 
the purchasers. The total number of sheep sold was 
969, which fetched under the hammer the great aggre- 
gate of 10,926, or more than 54,000 dollars. The 
most splendid ram in the flock went to the United 
States, being knocked down to Mr. J. C. Taylor, of 
Holmdale, New Jersey ; who is doing so much to 
Americanise the Southdowns. Others went to the 



. London to John O* Groat's. 



12 



Canadas, Australia, South America, and to nearly 
every country in continental Europe. 

Thus was formed, and thus was dispersed the famous 
Babraham flock. And such were the labors of Jonas 
Webb for the material well-being of mankind. These 
alone, detached from those qualities and characteristics 
which make up and reflect a higher nature, entitle 
his name to a wide and lasting memory among men. 
And these labors and successes are they that those 
who have read of them in different countries know 
him by. These comprise and present the character 
they honor with respect. What he was in the temper 
and disposition of his inner life, in daily walk and 
conversation, in the even and gentle amenities of 
Christian humility, in sudden trials of his faith and 
patience ; what he was as a husband, father, friend 
and neighbor, to the poor, to the afflicted in mind, 
body or estate, all this will remain unwritten, but 
not unremembered by those who breathed and moved 
within that disk of light which his life shed around him. 

Few men have lived in whom so many personal and 
moral qualities combined to command respect, esteem, 
and even admiration. In stature, countenance, ex- 
pression, and deportment, he was a noble specimen of 
fully developed English manhood. To this first, ex- 
ternal aspect, his kindly and generous dispositions, his 



124 A Walk from 

genial manners, his delicate but dignified modesty, his 
large intelligence and large-heartedness, gave the addi- 
tional and crowning characteristic of a Christian gentle- 
man. Many Americans have visited Babraham, and 
enjoyed the hospitalities' which such a host could only 
give and grace. They will remember the paintings 
hung around the walls of that drawing-room, in which 
his commanding form, in the strength and beauty of 
meridian life, towers up in the rural landscape, sur- 
rounded by cattle and sheep bearing the impress of his 
skill and care. A little incident occurred a few years 
ago, which may illustrate this personal aspect better 
than any simile of description. On the occasion of one 
of the great Agricultural Expositions in Paris, a depu- 
tation or a company of gentlemen went over to repre- 
sent the Agricultural Society of England. Mr. Webb 
was one of the number; and some French nobleman 
who had known him personally, as well as by reputa- 
tion, was very desirous of making him a guest while in 
Paris. To be sure of this pleasure, he sent a special 
courier all the way to Folkestone, charged with a letter 
which he was himself to put into the hands of Mr. 
"Webb, before the steamer left the dock. "But how 
am I to know the gentleman?" asked the courier; 
"I never saw him in my life." " N'importe" was 
the reply. " Put the letter in the hand of the noblest- 



London to John O Groat's. 125 

looking man on board, and you will be sure to be 
right." The courier followed the direction ; and, sta- 
tioning himself near the gangway, he took his master's 
measure of every passenger as he entered. He could 
not be mistaken. As soon as the plank was withdrawn, 
he approached Mr. Webb, hat in hand, and, with a 
deferential word of recognition, done in the best grace 
of French politeness, handed him the letter. One of 
the deputation, noticing the incident, and wondering 
how the man knew whom he was addressing without 
previous inquiry, questioned him afterwards on the 
subject, and learned from him the ground on which he 
proceeded. The photographic likeness presented in 
connection with this notice was taken shortly before his 
decease, at the age of nearly 66, and when his health 
was greatly impaired. 

Few men ever carried out so fully the injunction, not 
to let the left hand know what the right hand did, in 
the quiet and steady outflow of good will and good 
works, as Mr. Webb. Even those nearest and dearest 
to him never knew what that right hand did as a help 
in time of need, what that large heart felt in time of 
others' affliction, what those lips said to the sorrowing, 
in tearful moments of grief, until they had been stilled 
for ever on earth. Then it came out, act by act, word 
by word, thought by thought, from those who held the 



126 A Walk from 

remembrances in their souls as precious souvenirs of a 
good man's life. So earnest was his desire to do these 
things in secret, that his own family heard of them 
only by accident, and from those whom he so greatly 
helped with his kindness and generosity. And when 
known by his wife and children, in this way, they were 
put under the ban of secrecy. This it is that makes 
it so difficult to delineate the home and heaven side of 
his character. Those nearest to him, who breathed in 
the blessing of its daily odor, so revere his repeated and 
earnest wish not to have his good works talked of in 
public, that, even now he is dead and gone, they hold 
it as a sacred obligation to his memory not to give up 
these treasured secrets of his life. Thus, in giving a 
partial coup d'ceil of that aspect of his character which 
fronted homeward and heavenward, one can only glean, 
here and there, glimpses of different traits, in acts, 
incidents, and anecdotes remembered by neighbors 
and friends near and remote. Were it not that his 
children are withheld, by this delicate veneration, from 
giving to the public facts known to them alone, the 
moral beauty and brightness of his life would shine out 
upon the world with warmer rays and larger rayons. 
I hope that a single passage from a letter written by 
one of them to a friend, even under the injunction of 
confidence, may be given here, without rending the veil 



London to John O* Groat's. 127 

which they hold so sacred. In referring to this dispo- 
sition and habit of her venerated father, she says : 

" Often have I been so blessed as to be caused to shed 
tears of joy and pride at hearing proofs of his tender- 
ness, kindness, and generosity related by the recipients 
of some token of his nobleness, but of which we never 
should have heard from himself." 

A little incident may illustrate this trait of his dis- 
position. In 1862, a " Loan Court " was held in Lon- 
don, at which there was a most magnificent display of 
jewels and plate of all kinds, contributed by their owners 
to be exhibited for the gratification of the public. A 
friend, who held him in the highest veneration, return- 
ing from this brilliant show, expressed regret that Mr. 
Webb had not furnished one of the stands, by sending 
the splendid silver candelabra presented to Tivm by the 
French Emperor, with the many silver cups and medals 
he had won. Mr. Webb replied, that the mercies God 
had blessed him with, and the successes He had awarded 
to him, might have been sent to teach him humility, 
and not given to parade before the world. 

It is one of the most striking proofs of his great and 
pure-heartedness, that, notwithstanding nearly forty 
consecutive years of vigorous and successful competi- 
tion with the leading agriculturists of Great Britain 
and other countries, none of the victories he won over 



128 A Walk from 

them, or the eminence he attained, ever made him an 
enemy. When we consider the eager ambitions and 
excited sensibilities that enter into these competitions, 
this fact in itself shows what manner of man he was 
in his disposition and deportment. Referring to this 
aspect of his character, the French writer, already cited, 
M. De La Trehonnais, says of him, while still living : 

" There exists no person who has gained the esteem 
and goodwill of his cotemporaries to a higher degree 
than Mr. Webb. His probity, his scrupulous good 
faith, his generosity, and the affable equality of his 
character, have gained for him the respect and affection 
of every one. Since I have had the honor of knowing 
him, which is already many years, I have never known 
of his having a single enemy ; and in my constant 
intercourse with the agricultural classes of England, I 
have never heard of a single malevolent insinuation 
respecting him. When we consider how much those 
who raise themselves in the world above others, are 
made the butt for the attacks of envy in proportion 
with their elevation, we may conclude that there are 
in the character of this wealthy man very solid virtues, 
well fixed principles, transcendant merit, to have passed 
through his long career of success and triumphs with- 
out having drawn upon himself the ill-will of a single 
enemy, or the calumnious shaft of envy." 






London to John O' Groat's. 129 

Nor were these negative virtues, ending where they 
begun, or enabling him to go through a long life of 
energetic activities without an enemy. He not only 
lived at peace with all men, but he did his utmost to 
make them live at peace with each other. Says one 
who knew him intimately : "I never heard him express 
a sentiment savoring of enmity to any person, nor could 
he bear to see it entertained by any one towards another. 
Even if he heard of an ill feeling existing between 
persons, he would, if possible, effect a reconciliation ; 
and his own bright example, and hearty, kind, genial 
manners, always warmed all hearts towards himself. 
Notwithstanding the numerous calls upon his time, 
made by public and private business, he did not lose 
his sweet cheerfulness of temper, and was ever ready 
in his most busy moments to aid others, if he saw a 
possibility of so doing." Energy, gentleness, conscien- 
tiousness, and courtesy were seldom, if ever, blended in 
such suave accord as in him. These virtues came out, 
each in its distinctive lustre, under the trials and vexa- 
tions which try human' nature most severely. All who 
knew him marvelled that he was able to maintain such 
sweetness and evenness of temper under provocations and 
difficulties which would have greatly annoyed most 
men. What he was in these outer circles of his in- 
fluence, he was, to all the centralisation of his virtues, 



1 30 A Walk from 

in the heart of his family. Here, indeed, the best 
graces of his character had their full play and beauty. 
He was the centre and soul of one of the happiest of 
earthly homes, attracting to him the affections of every 
member of the hearth circle that moved in the sleepless 
light of his life. Here he did not rule, but led by love. 
It alone dictated, and it alone obeyed. It inspired its 
like in domestic discipline. Spontaneous reverence for 
such a father's wish and will superseded the unpleasant 
necessity of more active parental constraint. To bring 
a shade of sadness to that venerated face, or a speech- 
less reproach to that benignant eye, was a greater 
punishment to a temporarily wayward child than any 
corporal correction could have inflicted. 

No one of the hundreds that were present at the 
sale and dispersion of the Babraham flock could have 
thought that the remaining days of the great and good 
man were to be so few on earth. He was then about 
sixty-five years of age, of stately, unbending form and 
face radiant and genial with the florid flush of that 
Indian Summer which so many Englishmen wear late 
in those autumnal years that bend and pale American 
forms and faces to "the sere and yellow leaf" of life. 
But the sequel proved that he did not abdicate his 
position too early. In a little more than a year from 
this event, his spirit was raised to higher fellowships 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 131 

and folded with those of the pure and blest of bygone 
ages. The incidents and coincidents of the last, great 
moments of his being here, were remarkable and 
affecting. Neither he nor his wife died at the home 
they had made so happy with the beauty and savor 
of their virtues. Under another and a distant roof 
they both laid themselves down to die. The husband's 
hand was linked in his wife's, up to within a few short 
steps of the river's brink, when, touched with the cold 
spray of the dark waters, it fell from its hold and was 
superseded by the strong arm of the angel of the 
covenant, sent to bear her first across the flood. In 
life they were united to a oneness seldom witnessed 
on earth ; in death they were not separated except by 
the thinnest partition. Though her spirit was taken 
up first to the great and holy communion above, the 
ministering angel of God's love let her body remain 
with him as a pledge until his own spirit was called to 
join hers in the joint mansion of their eternal rest. 
On the very day that her body was carried to its long 
home, his own unloosed, to its upward flight, the soul 
that had made it shine for half a century like a temple 
erected to the Divine Glory. The years allotted to 
him on earth were even to a day. Just sixty-six were 
measured off to him, and then "the wheel ceased to 
turn at the cistern," and he died on his birthday. 

K2 



132 A Walk from 

An affecting coincidence also marked the departure of 
his beloved wife. She left on the birthday of her 
eldest son, who had intended to make the anniversary 
the dating-day of domestic happiness, by choosing it 
for his marriage. 

A few facts will suffice for the history of the closing 
scene. About the middle of October, 1862, Mrs. Webb, 
whose health seemed failing, went to visit her brother, 
Henry Marshall, Esq., residing in Cambridge. Here 
she suddenly became much worse, and the prospect of 
her recovery more and more doubtful. Mr. Webb was 
with her immediately on the first unfavorable turn of 
her illness, together with other members of the family. 
When he realised her danger, and the hope of her 
surviving broke down with him, his physical constitu- 
tion succumbed under the impending blow, and two 
days before her death, he was prostrated by a nervous 
fever, from which he never rallied, but died on the 10th 
of November. Although the great visitation was too 
heavy for his flesh and blood to bear, his spirit was 
strengthened to drink this last cup of earthly trial 
with beautiful serenity and submission. It was strong 
enough to make his quivering lips to say, in distinct 
and audible utterance, and his closing eyes to pledge 
the truth and depth of the sentiment, " Thy will be 
done ! " One who stood over him in these last 



London to John O Groat's. 133 

moments says, that, when assured of his own danger, 
his countenance only seemed to take on a light of 
greater happiness. He was conscious up to within a 
few minutes of his death, and, though unable to speak 
articulately, responded by expressions of his coun- 
tenance to the words and looks of aifection addressed 
to him by the dear ones surrounding his bed. One of 
them read to him a favorite hymn, beginning with, 
" Cling to the Comforter ! " When she ceased, he 
signed to her to repeat it ; and, while the words were 
still on her lips, the Comforter came at his call, and 
bore his waiting spirit away to the heavenly com- 
panionship for which it longed. As it left the stilled 
temple of its earthly habitation, it shed upon the deli- 
cately carved lines of its marble door and closed win- 
dows a sweet gleam of the morning twilight of its own 
happy immortality. 

A long funeral cortege attended the remains of the 
deceased from Cambridge to their last resting place in 
the little village churchyard of Babraham. Beside 
friends from neighboring villages, the First Cambridge- 
shire Mounted Eifle Corps joined the procession, to- 
gether with a large number of the county police force. 
His body was laid down to its last, long rest beside 
that of his wife, who preceded him to the tomb only a 
few days. Though Stratford-upon-Avou, and Dryburgh 



134 A Walk from 

Abbey may attract more American travellers to their 
shrines, I am sure many of them, with due perception 
of moral worth, will visit Babraham, and hold it in 
reverent estimation as the home of one of the world's 
best worthies, who left on it a biograph which shall 
have a place among the human-life-scapes which the 
Saviour of mankind shall hang up in the inner temple 
of His Father's glory, as the most precious tokens and 
trophies of the earth, on which he shared the tearful 
experiences of humanity, and bore back to His throne 
all the touching memories of its weaknesses, griefs, and 
sorrows. 

A movement is now on foot to erect a suitable monu- 
ment to his memory. It may indicate the public estima- 
tion in which his life and labors are held that, already, 
about 10,000 have been subscribed towards this testi- 
monial to his worth. The monument, doubtless, will 
be placed in the great Agricultural Hall, which he did 
so much to found. Thus his name will wear down to 
coming generations the crystal roofage of that magni- 
ficent edifice as a fitting crown of honor. 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 135 



CHAPTER VIII. 

THRESHING MACHINE FLOWER SHOW THE HOLLYHOCK AND ITS SUG- 
GESTIONS THE LAW OF CO-OPERATIVE ACTIVITIES IN VEGETABLE, 

ANIMAL, MENTAL, AND MORAL LIFE. 

" In all places, then, and in all seasons, 
Flowers expand their light and soul-like wings, 
Teaching us, by most persuasive reasons, 
How akin they are to human things." 

LONGFELLOW. 



M 



"Y stay at Babraham was short. It was like a 
visit to the grave of one of those English 
worthies whose lives and labors are so well known 
and appreciated in America. All the external fea- 
tures of the establishment were there unchanged. The 
large and substantial mansion, with its hall and parlor 
walls hung with the mementoes of the genius and 
success that had made it so celebrated ; the barns and 
housings for the great herds and flocks which had been 
dispersed over the world ; the very pens still standing 
in which they had been folded in for the auctioneer's 
hammer ; all these arrangements and aspects remained 
as they were when Jonas Webb left his home to return 
no more, But all those beautiful and happy families 



136 A Walk from 

of animal life, which he reared to such perfection, were 
scattered on the wings of wind and steam to the utter- 
most and most opposite parts of the earth. 

The eldest son, Mr. Samuel Webb, who supervises 
part of the farm occupied by his father, and also carries 
on one of his own in a neighboring parish, was very 
cordial and courteous, and drove me to his establish- 
ment near Chesterford. Here a steam threshing machine 
was at work, doing prodigious execution on different 
kinds of grain. The engine had climbed, a proprii 
motu, a long ascent ; had made its way partly through 
ploughed land to the rear of the barn, and was ratlingly 
busy in a fog of dust, doing the labor of a hundred 
flails. Eicks of wheat and beans, each as large as a 
comfortable cottage, disappeared in quick succession 
through the fingers of the chattering, iron-ribbed giant, 
and came out in thick and rapid streams of yellow 
grain. Swine seemed to be the speciality to which this 
son of Mr. Webb is giving some of that attention which 
his father gave to sheep. There were between 200 and 
300 in the barn-yards and pens, of different ages and 
breeds, all looking in excellent condition. 

From Chesterford I went on to Cambridge, where I 
remained for the most part of two days, on account of 
a heavy fall of rain, which kept me within doors nearly 
all the time. I went out, however, for an hour or so 



London to John C? Groat's. 137 

to see a Flower Show in the Town Hall. The varieties 
and specimens made a beautiful, but not very extensive 
array. There was one flower that not only attracted 
especial admiration, but invited a pleasant train of 
thoughts to my own mind. It was one of those old 
favorites to which the common people of all countries, 
who speak our mother tongue, love to give an inalien- 
able English name The Hollyhock. It is one of the 
flowers of the people, which the pedantic Latinists have 
left untouched in homely Saxon, because the people 
would have none of their long-winded and heartless 
appellations. After .having dwelt briefly upon the 
honor that Divine Providence confers upon human 
genius and labor, in letting them impress their finger- 
marks so distinctly upon the features and functions of 
the earth, and upon the forms of animal life, it may 
be a profitable recurrence to the same line of thought 
to notice what that same genius and labor have wrought 
upon the structure and face of this familiar flower. 
What was it at first? What is it now in the rural 
gardens of New England ? A shallow, bell-mouthed 
cup, in most cases purely white, and hung to a tall, 
coarse stalk, like the yellow jets of a mullein. That 
is its natural and distinctive characteristic in all coun- 
tries ; at least where it is best known and most common. 
What is it here, bearing the finger-prints of man's 



138 A Walk from 

mind and taste upon it? Its white and thin-sided 
cup is brim full and running over with flowery exu- 
berance of leaf and tint infinitely variegated. Here 
it is as solid, as globe-faced, and nearly as large as 
the dahlia. Place it side by side with the old, single- 
leafed hollyhock, in a New England farmer's garden, 
and his wife would not be able to trace any family 
relationship between them, even through the spectacles 
with which she reads the Bible. But the dahlia itself 
what was that in its first estate, in the country in 
which it was first found in its aboriginal structure and 
complexion ? As plain and unpretending as the holly- 
hock ; as thinly dressed as the short-kirtled daisy in a 
Connecticut meadow. It is wonderful, and passing 
wonder, how teachable and quick of perception and 
prehension is Nature in the studio of Art. She, the 
oldest of painters, that hung the earth, sea, and sky of 
the Antediluvian world with landscapes, waterscapes, 
and cloudscapes manifold and beautiful, when as yet 
the human hand had never lifted a pencil to imitate 
her skill; she, with the colors wherewith she dyed 
the fleecy clouds that spread their purple drapery over 
the first sunset, and in which she dipped the first rain- 
bow hung in heaven, and the first rose that breathed 
and blushed on earth ; she that has embellished every 
day, since the Sun first opened its eye upon the world, 



London to John O 'Groat's. 139 

with a new gallery of paintings for every square mile 
of land and sea, and new dissolving views for every 
hour she, with all these artistic antecedents, tastes, 
and faculties, comes modestly into the conservatory of 
the floriculturist, and takes lessons of him in shaping 
and tinting plants and flowers which the great Master 
said were "all very good" on the sixth-day morning 
of the creation ! This is marvellous, showing a prero- 
gative in human genius almost divine, and worthy of 
reverent and grateful admiration. How wide-reaching 
and multigerent is 'this prerogative ! In how many 
spheres of action it works simultaneously in these latter 
days ! See how it manipulates the brute forces of 
Nature ! See how it saddles the winds, and bridles and 
spurs the lightning ! See how it harnesses steam to the 
plough, the flood to the spindle, the quick cross cur- 
rents of electricity to the newsman's phaeton ! Then 
ascend to higher reaches of its faculty. In the hands 
of a Bakewell or a Webb, it gives a new and creative 
shaping to multitudinous generations of animal life. 
Nature yields to its suggestion and leading, and co- 
works, with all her best and busiest activities, to realise 
the human ideal ; to put muscle there, to straighten 
that vertebra, to parallel more perfectly these dorsal 
and ventral lines, to lengthen or shorten those bones ; 
to flesh the leg only to such a joint, and wool or 



140 A Walk from 

unwool it below ; to horn or unborn tbe bead, to 
blacken or blancb tbe face, to put on tbe whole body 
a new dress and make it and its remote posterity wear 
this new form and costume forever more. All this 
shows how kindly and almost proudly Nature takes 
Art into partnership with her in these new structures 
of beauty and perfection ; both teaching and taught, 
and wooing man to work with her, and walk with her, 
and talk with her within the domain of creative ener- 
gies ; to make the cattle and sheep of ten thousand 
bills and valleys thank the Lord, out of the grateful 
speech of their large, lustrous eyes, for better forms 
and features, and faculties of comfort than their early 
predecessors were born to. 

Equally wonderful, perhaps more beautiful, is the 
joint work of Nature and Art on the sweet life and 
glory of flowers. However many they were, and what 
they were, that breathed upon the first spring or sum- 
mer day of time, each was a half-sealed gift of (rod to 
man, to be opened by his hand when his mind should 
open to a new sense of beauty and perfection. Flowers, 
each with a genealogy reaching unbroken through the 
Flood back to the overhanging blossoms of Eden, have 
come down to us, as it were, only in their travelling 
costume, with their best dresses packed away in stamen, 
or petal, or private seedcase, to be brought out at the 



London to John O' Groat's. 141 

end of fifty centuries at the touch of human genius. 
Those of which Solomon sang in his time, and which 
exceeded his glory in their every-day array, even " the 
hyssop by the wall," never showed, on the gala-days of 
his Egyptian bride, the hidden charms which he, in 
his wisdom, knew not how to unlock. Flowers in- 
numerable are now, like illuminated capitals of Nature's 
alphabet, flecking, with their sheen-dots, prairie, steppe, 
mountain and meadow, the earth around, which, per- 
haps, will only give their best beauties to the world in 
a distant age. As the light of the latest created and 
remotest stars has not yet completed its downward 
journey to the eye of man, so to his sight have not 
these sweet-breathing constellations of the field yet 
made the full revelation of their treasured hues 
and forms. Not one in a hundred of them all has 
done this up to the present moment. When one in 
ten of those that bless us with their life and being 
shall put on all its reserved beauty, then, indeed, the 
stars above and the stars below will stud the firmaments 
in which they shine with equal glory, and blend both 
in one great heavenscape for the eye and heart of man. 
One by one, in its turn, the key of human genius shall 
unlock the hidden wardrobe of the commonest flowers, 
and deck them out in the court dress reserved, for five 
thousand years, to be worn in the brighter, afternoon 



142 A Walk from 

centuries of the world. The Mistress of the Eobes is a 
high dignitary in the Household of Boyalty, and has 
her place near to the person of the Queen. But the 
Floriculturist, of educated perception and taste, is the 
master of a higher state robe, and holds the key of 
embroidered vestments, cosmetics, tintings, artistries, 
hair-jewels, head-dresses, brooches, and bracelets, which 
no empress ever wore since human crowns were made ; 
which Nature herself could not show on all the bygone 
birthdays of her being. 

This is marvellous. It is an honor to man, put upon 
hvm from above, as one of the gratuitous dignities of 
his being. " An undevout astronomer is mad," said 
one who had opened his mind to a broad grasp of the 
wonders which this upper heaven holds in its bosom. 
The floriculturist is an astronomer, with Newton's tele- 
scope reversed ; and if its revelations do not stir up 
holy thoughts in his soul, he is blind as well as mad. 
No glass, no geometry that Newton ever lifted at the 
still star-worlds above, could do more than reveal. At 
the farthest stretch of their faculty, they could only 
bring to light the life and immortality of those orbs 
which the human eye had never seen before. They 
could not tint nor add a ray to one of them all. They 
never could bring down to the reach of man's unaided 
vision a single star that Noah could not see through 



London to John O" Groat's. 143 

the deck-lights of the Ark. It was a gift and a glory 
that well rewarded the science and genius of Newton 
and Herschel, of Adams and Le Verrier, that they 
could ladder these mighty perpendicular distances, 
and climb the rounds to such heights and sweeps of 
observation, and count, measure, and name orbs and 
orbits before unknown, and chart the paths of their 
rotations, and weigh them, as in scales, while in 
motion. But this ^-astronomer, whose observatory 
in his conservatory, whose telescope and fluxions are 
his trowel and watering-pot, not only brings to 
light the hidden life of a thousand earth-stars, but 
changes their forms, colors their rays, half creates 
and transforms, until each differs as much from its 
original structure and tinting as the planet Jupiter 
would differ from its familiar countenance if Adams or 
Le Verrier could make it wear the florid face of Mars. 
This man, and it is to be hoped that he carries some 
devout and grateful thoughts to his work sets Nature 
new lessons daily in artistry, and she works out the new 
ideals of his taste to their joint and equal admiration. 
He has got up a new pattern for the fern. She lets 
him guide her hand in the delicate operation, and she 
crimps, fringes, shades or shapes its leaflets to his will, 
even to a thousand varieties. He moistens her fingers 
with the fluids she uses on her easel, and puts them to 



144 A Walk from 

the rootlets of the rose, and they transpose its hues, or 
fringe it or tinge it with a new glory. He goes into 
the fen or forest, or climbs the jutting crags of lava- 
mailed mountains, and brings back to his fold one of 
Natures' foundlings, a little, pale-faced orphan, crouch- 
ing, pinched and starved, in a ragged hood of dirty 
muslin ; and he puts it under the fostering of those 
maternal fingers, guided by his own. Soon it feels the 
inspiration of a new life warming and swelling its 
shrivelled veins. Its paralysed petals unfold, one by 
one. The rim of its cup fills, leaf by leaf, to the brim. 
It becomes a thing most lovely and fair, and he intro- 
duces it, with pride, to the court beauties of his crystal 
palace. 

The agriculturist is taken into this co-partnership of 
Nature in a higher domain of her activities, measured 
by the great utilities of human life. We have glanced 
at their joint-work in her animal kingdom. In the 
vegetable, it is equally wonderful. Nature contributes 
the raw material of these great and vital industries, 
then incites and works out human suggestions. Thus 
she trains and obeys the mind and hand of man, in this 
grand sphere of development. Their co-working and 
its result are just as perceptible in a common Irish 
potato as in the most gorgeous dahlia ever exhibited. 
Not one farmer in a thousand has ever read the history 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 145 

of that root of roots, in value to mankind ; has ever 
conceived what a tasteless, contracted, water-soaked 
thing it was in its wild and original condition. Let 
them read a few chapters of the early history of New 
England, and they will see what it was, two hundred 
and fifty years ago, when the strong-hearted men and 
women, whom Hooker led to the banks of the Connec- 
ticut, sought for it in the white woods of winter, 
scraping away the snow with their frosted fingers. The 
largest they found just equalled the Malaga grape in 
size and resembled it in complexion. They called it 
the ground-nut, for it seemed akin to the nuts dropped 
by the oaks of different names. No flower that breathes 
on earth has been made to produce so many varieties of 
form, complexion and name as this homely root. It 
would be an interesting and instructive enterprise, to 
array all the varieties of this queen of esculent vegeta- 
bles which Europe and America could exhibit, face to 
face with all the varieties which the dahlia, geranium, 
panza, or even the fern has produced, and then see 
which has been numerically the most prolific in diversi- 
fication of forms and features. It should gratify a 
better motive than curiosity to trace back the history of 
other roots to their aboriginal condition. Types of the 
original stock may now be found, in waste places, in 
the wild turnip, wild carrot, parsnip, &c. "Line upon 

L 



146 A Walk from 

line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a 
little," it may be truly and gratefully said, these roots, 

internetted with the very life-fibres of human suste- 
nance, have been brought to their present perfection 
and value. The great governments and peoples of 
the world should give admiring and grateful thought 
to this fact. Here nature co-works with the most 
common and inartistic of human industries, as they are 
generally held, with faculties as subtle and beautiful as 
those which she brings to bear upon the choicest flowers. 
The same is true of grains and grasses for man and 
beast. They come down to us from a kind of heathen 
parentage, receiving new forms and qualities from age 
to age. The wheats, which make the bread of all the 
continents, now exhibit varieties which no one has 
undertaken to enumerate. Fruits follow the same rule, 
and show the same joint-working of Nature and Art as 
in the realm of flowers. 

The wheel within wheel, the circle within circle 
expand and ascend until the last circumferential line 
sweeps around all the world of created being, even 
taking in, upon the common radius, the highest and 
oldest of the angels. From the primrose peering from 
the hedge to the premier seraph wearing the coronet 
of his sublime companionship ; from the lowest forms of 
vegetable existence to the loftiest reaches of moral 



London to John O 'Groat's. 147 

nature this side of the Infinite, this everlasting law of 
co- working rules the ratio of progress and development. 
In all the concentric spheres strung on the radius 
measured by these extremes, there is this same co-acting 
of internal and external forces. And mind, of man or 
angel, guides and governs both. Not a flower that 
ever breathed on 'earth, not one that ever blushed in 
Eden, could open all its hidden treasures of beauty 
without the co-working of man's mind and taste. No 
animal that ever bowed its neck to his yoke, or gave 
him labor, milk or wool, could come to the full develop- 
ment of its latent vitalities and symmetries without the 
help of his thought and skill. The same law obtains 
in his own physical nature. Mind has made it what 
it is to-day, as compared with the wild features and 
habits of its aboriginal condition. Mind has worked 
for five thousand years upon its fellow-traveller through 
time, to fit it more and more fully for the companion- 
ship. It was delivered over to her charge naked, with 
its attributes and faculties as latent and dormant as 
those of the wild rose or dahlia. Through all the ages 
long, she has worked upon its development ; educating 
its tastes ; taming its appetites ; refining its sensi- 
bilities ; multiplying and softening its enjoyments ; 
giving to every sense a new capacity and relish of 
delight ; cultivating the ear for music, and ravishing it 
L 2 



148 A Walk from 

with the concord of sweet sounds ; cultivating the eye 
to drink in the glorious beauty of the external world, 
then adding to natural sceneries ten thousand pictures 
of mountain, valley, river, man, angel and scenes in 
human and heaven's history, painted by the thought- 
instructed hand; cultivating the palate to the most 
exquisite sensibilities, and exploring all the zones for 
luxuries to gratify them ; cultivating the fine finger- 
nerves to such perception that they can feel the pulse 
of sleeping notes of music; cultivating the still finer 
organism that catches the subtle odors on the wing, 
and sends their separate or mingled breathings through 
every vein and muscle from head to foot. 

The same law holds good in the development of 
mind. It has now reached such an altitude, and it 
shines with such lustre, that our imagination can hardly 
find the way down to the morning horizon of its life, 
and measure its scope and power in the dim twilight of 
its first hours in time. The simple facts of its first 
condition would now seem to most men as exaggerated 
fancies, if given in the simplest forms of truthful state- 
ment. With all the mighty faculties to which it has 
come ; with its capacity to count, name, measure and 
weigh stars that Adam, nor Moses, nor Solomon ever 
saw ; with all the forces of nature it has subdued to the 
service of man, it cannot tell what simplest facts of the 



London to John O' Groat's. 149 

creation had to be ascertained by its first, feeble and 
confused reasonings. No one of to-day can say how 
low down in the scale of intelligence the human mind 
began to exercise its untried faculties ; what apposition 
and deduction of thoughts it required to individualise the 
commonest objects that met the eye ; even to determine 
that the body it animated was not an immovable part 
of the earth itself ; to obtain fixed notions of distance, 
of color, light and heat ; to learn the properties and 
uses of plants, herbs and fruits ; even to see the sun 
sink out of sight with the sure faith that it would rise 
again. It was gifted with no instinct, to decide these 
questions instantly and mechanically. They had all to 
pass through the varied processes of reason. The first 
bird that sang in Eden, built its first nest as perfectly 
as its last. But, thought by thought, the first human 
mind worked out conclusions which the dullest beast or 
bird reached instantly without reason. What wonder- 
ful co- working of internal and external influences was 
provided to keep thought in sleepless action ; to open, 
one by one, the myriad petals of the mind ! Nature, 
with all its shifting sceneries, filled every new scope of 
vision with objects that hourly set thought at play in a 
new line of reflection. Then, out of man's physical 
being came a thousand still small voices daily, whisper- 
ing, Think! think! The first-born necessities, few 



150 A Walk from 

and simple, cried, " Think ! for we want bread, we want 
drink, we want shelter and raiment against the cold." 
The finer senses cried continually, " Give ! give thought 
to this, to that." The Eye, the Ear, the Palate and 
every other organ that could receive and diffuse delight, 
worked the mental faculties by day and night, up to 
the last sunset of the antideluvian world ; and all the 
intellectual result of this working Noah took with him 
into the ark, and gave to his sons to hand over to 
succeeding ages. Flowers that Eve stuck in the hair 
of the infant Abel are just now opening the last casket 
of their beauty to the favored children of our time. 
This, in itself, is a marvellous instance of the law we 
are noticing. But what is this to the processes of 
thought and observation through which the mind of 
man has reached its present expansion ; through which 
it has developed all these sciences, arts, industries and 
tastes, the literature and the intellectual life of these 
bright days of humanity ! The figure is weak, and every 
figure would be weak when applied to the ratio or the 
result of this progression ; but, at what future age of 
time, or of the existence beyond time, will the mind, 
that has thus wrought on earth, open its last petal, put 
forth no new breathing, unfold no new beauty under 
the eye of the Infinite, who breathed it, as an immortal 
atom of His own essence, into the being of man ? 



London to John C? Groat's. 151 

Follow the radius up into the next concentric circle, 
and we see this law working to finer and sublimer issues 
in man's moral nature. We have glanced at what the 
mind has done for and through his physical faculties 
and being ; how that being has reacted upon the mind, 
and kept all its capacities at work in procuring new 
delight to the eye, ear, palate, and all the senses that 
yearned for enjoyment. We have noticed how the 
inside and outside world acted upon his reasoning 
powers in the dawn of creation; how slowly they 
mastered the simplest facts and phenomena of life in 
and around him ; how slowly they expanded, through 
the intervening centuries, to their present development. 
The mind is the central personage in the trinity of 
man's being; linking the mortal and immortal to its 
life and action ; vitalising the body with intelligence, 
until every vein, muscle, and nerve, and function 
thrills and moves to the impulse of thought ; vitalising 
the soul with the vigorous activities of reason, giving 
hands as well as wings to its hopes, faiths, loves, and 
aspirations ; giving a faculty of speech, action, and 
influence to each, and play to all the tempers and 
tendencies of its moral nature. Thus all the influences 
that the mind could inhale from the material world 
through man's physical being, and all it could draw 
out of the depths of Divine revelation, were the dew 



152 A Walk from 

and the light which it was its mission to bring to the 
fostering, growth and glory of the human soul. These 
were man's means wherewith to shape it for its great 
destiny ; these he was to bring to its training and 
expansion ; with these he was to co-work with the In- 
finite Father of Spirits to fit it for His presence and 
fellowship, just as he co- works with Nature in develop- 
ing the latent life and faculties of the rose. What 
distillations of spiritual influence have dropped down 
out of heaven, through the ages, to help onward this 
joint work ! What histories of human experience have 
come in the other direction to the same end ! fraught 
with the emotions of the human heart, from the first 
sin and sorrow of Adam to our own griefs, hopes, and 
joys ; and all so many lessons for the discipline of this 
high-born nature within us ! 

And yet how slow and almost imperceptible has been 
the development of this nature ! How gently and 
gradually the expanding influences, human and divine, 
have been let in upon its latent faculties ! See with 
what delicate fostering the petals of love, faith and 
hope were taught to open, little by little, their hidden 
life and beauty, taking Moses' history of the process. 
First, one human being on the earth, surrounded with 
beasts and birds that could give him no intelligent 
companionship and no fellow-feeling. Then the beau- 






London to John O Groat's. 153 

tiful being created to meet these awakening yearnings 
of his nature ; then the first outflow and interchange of 
human love. The narrative brings us to the next stage 
of the sentiment. Sin and sorrow afflict, but unite, 
both hearts in the saddest experience of humanity. 
They are driven out of the Eden of their first condi- 
tion, but their very sufferings and fears re-Eden their 
mutual attachments in the very thorns of their troubles 
and sorrow. Then another being, of their own flesh, 
heir to their changed lot, and to these attachments, is 
added to their companionship. The first child's face 
that heaven or earth ever saw, opened its baby eyes on 
them and smiled in the light of their parental love. 
The history goes on. In process of time, there is a 
family of families, called a community, embracing hun- 
dreds of individuals connected by ties of blood so at- 
tenuated that they possess no binding influence. Com- 
mon interests, affinities, and sentiments supply the 
place of family relationship, and make laws of amity 
and equity for them as a population. Next we have 
a community of communities, or a commonwealth of 
these individual populations, generally called a nation. 
Here is a larger lesson for the moral nature. Here 
are thousands and tens of thousands of men who never 
saw each other's faces. Will this expanded orb of 
humanity revolve around the same centre as the first 



154 A Walk from 

family circle, or the first independent community ? 
How can you give it cohesion and harmony ? Extend 
the radii of family relationship and influence to its cir- 
cumference in every direction. Throne the sovereign 
in a parent's chair, to execute a father's laws. He 
shall treat them as children, and they each other as 
brethren. Here is a grand programme for human 
society. Here is a vigorous discipline for the way- 
ward will and temper of the human heart. How is a 
man to feel and act in these new conditions ? How is 
he to regulate his hates and loves, his passions and 
appetites, to comply properly with these extended and 
complicated relationships ? 

About half way from Adam's day to ours$ there came 
an utterance from Mount Sinai that anticipated and 
answered these questions once for all, and for one and 
all. In that august revelation of the Divine Mind, 
every command of the Decalogue swung open upon the 
pivot of a not, except one ; and that one referred to 
man's duty to man, and the promise attached to its 
fulfilment was only an earthly enjoyment. All the 
rest were restrictive ; to curb this appetite, to bar that 
passion, to hedge this impulse, to check that disposi- 
tion ; in a word, to hold back the hand from open and 
positive transgression. Even the first, relating to His 
own Godhead and requirements, was but the first of 



London to John O' Groat's. 155 

the series of negatives, a pure and simple prohibition 
of idolatry. No reward of keeping this first, great 
law, reaching beyond the boundary of a temporal con- 
dition, was promised at its giving out. With the 
headstrong passions, lusts, appetites, and tempers of 
flesh and blood bridled and bitted by these restrictions, 
and with no motives to obedience beyond the awards 
of a short life on earth, the human soul groped its way 
through twenty centuries after the Revelation of Sinai, 
feeling for the immortality which was not yet revealed 
to it, even " as through a glass darkly." Here and 
there, but thinly scattered through the ages, divinely 
illumined men caught, through the parting seams of 
the veil, a transient glimpse and ray of the life to come. 
Here and there, obscurely and hesitatingly, they refer 
to this vision of their faith. Here and there we seem 
to see a hope climbing up out of a good man's heart 
into the pathless mystery of a future existence, and 
bringing back the fragment of a leaf which it believes 
must have grown on one of the trees of life immortal. 
Moses, Job, David, and Isaiah give us utterances that 
savor of this belief; but they leave us in the dark in 
reference to its influence upon their lives. "We cannot 
glean, from these incidental expressions, whether it 
brought them any steady comfort, or sensibly affected 
their happiness. 



156 A Walk from 

Thus, for four thousand years, the soul of man dashed 
its wings against the prison-bars of time, peering into 
the night through the cold, relentless gratings for some 
fugitive ray of the existence of which it had such strong 
and sleepless presentiment. It is a mystery. It may 
seem irreverent to approach it even with a conjecture. 
Human reason should be humble and silent before it, 
and close its questioning lips. It may not, however, 
transcend its prerogative to say meekly, perhaps. Per- 
haps, then, for two-thirds of the duration that the sun 
has measured off to humanity; that life and immortality 
which the soul groped after were veiled from its vision, 
until all its mental and spiritual faculties had been 
trained and strengthened to the ability to grasp and 
appropriate the great fact when it should be revealed. 
Perhaps it required all the space of forty centuries to 
put forth feelers and fibres capable of clinging to the 
revelation with the steady hold of faith. Perhaps it 
was to prove, by long, decisive probation, what the 
unaided human mind could do in constructing its 
idealisms of immortality. Perhaps it was permitted 
to erect a scaffolding of conceptions on which to receive 
the great revelation at the highest possible level of 
thought and instinctive sentiment to which man could 
attain without supernatural light and help. If this 
last perhaps is preferable to the others, where was this 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 157 

scaffolding the highest ? over Confucius, or Socrates, or 
the Scandinavian seer, or Druid or Aztec priest ? Was 
it highest at Athens, because there the great apostle to 
the Grentiles planted his feet upon it, and said, in the 
ears of the Grecian sophists, " Him whom ye ignorantly 
worship declare I unto you ?" At that brilliant centre 
of pagan civilisation it might have reached its loftiest 
altitude, measured by a purely intellectual standard; 
but morally, this scaffolding was on the same low level 
of human life and character all the world around. The 
immortalities erected by Egyptian or Grecian philo- 
sophy were no purer, in moral conception and attri- 
butes, than the mythological fantasies of the North 
American Indians. In them all, human nature was to 
have the old play of its passions and appetites ; in some 
of them, a wider sweep and sway. There was not one 
in the whole set of Grecian deities half so moral and 
pure, in sentiment and conduct, as Socrates ; nor were 
Jupiter and his subordinate celestials better than the 
average kings and courts of Greece. Out of the hay, 
wood, and stubble of sheer fancy the human mind was 
left to raise these fantastic structures. They exercised 
and entertained the imagination, but brought no light 
nor strength to the soul ; no superior nor additional 
motives to shape the conduct of life. But they did 
this, undoubtedly, with all their delusions ; they de- 



158 A Walk from 

veloped the thought of immortality among the most 
benighted races of men. Their most perplexing un- 
realities kept the mind restless and almost eager for 
some supplementary manifestation ; so that, when the 
Star of Bethlehem shone out in the sky of Palestine, 
there were men looking heavenward with expectant 
eyes at midnight. From that hour to this, and among 
pagan tribes of the lowest moral perception, the heralds 
of the Great Revelation have found the thought of 
another existence active though confused. They have 
found everywhere a platform already erected, like that 
on which Paul stood in the midst of Mars Hill, and on 
which they could stand and say to heathen communi- 
ties, " Him whom ye ignorantly worship declare I unto 
you ! That future life and immortality which your 
darkened eyes and hungry souls have been groping and 
hungring for, bring we to you, bright as the sun, in this 
great gospel of Divine Love." Had the Star of Bethlehem 
appeared a century earlier, it might not have met an up- 
turned eye. If the Saviour of mankind had come into 
the world in Solomon's day, not even a manger might 
have been found to cradle His first moments of human 
life ; no Simeon waiting in the temple to greet the great 
salvation He brought to our race in His baby hands. 

Here, then, commences, as it were, the central era of 
the soul's training in time. Here heaven opened upon 






London to John O 1 Groat's. 159 

it the full sunlight and sunwarmth of its glorious life 
and immortality. Here fell upon its opening faculties 
the dews and rays and spiritual influences which were 
to shape its being and destiny. Here commenced such 
co-working to this end as can find no measure nor 
simile in any other sphere of co-operative activities in 
the world below or above. Here the Trinity of man 
and the Trinity of the Godhead came into a co-action 
and fellowship overpassing the highest outside wonder 
of the universe. And all this co-working, fellowship, 
and partnership has been repeated in the experience of 
every individual soul that has been fitted for this great 
immortality. Here, too, this co-working is a law, not 
an incident ; most marvellously, mightily, and minutely 
a law, as legislatively and executively as that which we 
have seen acting upon the development of the flower. 
Had not the great apostle, who was caught up into the 
third heavens and heard things unutterable, spoken of 
this law in such bold words, it would seem rash and 
irreverent in us to approach so near to its sublime 
revelation. Not ours but his they are ; and it is bold 
enough in us to repeat them. He said it : that He, to 
whose name every knee should bow, and every tongue 
confess ; to whom belonged and who should possess and 
rule all the kingdoms of the earth, " was made under 
the law," not of Moses, not of human nature only, but 



160 A Walk from 

under this very law of co- WORKING. Through this the 
world was to be regenerated and filled with His life 
and light. Through this a new creation was to be 
enfolded in the bosom of His glory, of grander dimen- 
sions and of diviner attributes than that over which the 
morning stars sang at the birth of time. Said this 
law to the individual soul : " Work out your salvation 
with fear and trembling, for it is (rod that worketh in 
you to will and to do of His own good pleasure." To 
will and to do. It is His own good will and pleasure 
that the soul shall be fitted and lifted up to its high 
destiny through this co- working. It was His power to 
raise it to that condition without man's participation or 
conscious acquiescence ; but it was His will and pleasure 
to enact this law of salvation. Looking across the 
circumference of the individual soul, what says this 
law ? " Go ye out into all the world and preach the 
gospel to every creature, and, lo, I am with you unto 
the end," not as an invisible companion, not merely 
with the still small voice of the Comforter to cheer you 
in trial, weakness and privation ; but with you as a 
co-worker, with the irresistible energies of the Spirit of 
Power. He might have done the whole work alone. 
He might have sent forth twelve, and twelve times 
twelve legions of angels, and given each a voice as loud 
as His who is to wake the dead, and bid them preach 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 161 

His gospel in the ears of every human being. He 
might have given a tongue to every breathing of the 
breeze, an articulate speech to every ray of light, and 
sent them out with their ceaseless voices on the great 
errand of His love. It was His power to do this. He 
did not do it, because it was His will and pleasure to 
put Himself under this law we have followed so far ; to 
make men His co-workers in this new creation, and co- 
heirs with Him in all its joy and glory. So completely 
has He made this law His rule of action, that, for 
eighteen hundred years, we have not a single instance 
in which the life and immortality which He brought 
to light have been revealed to a human soul without 
the direct and active participation of a human instru- 
mentality. So completely have His meekest servants 
on earth put themselves under this law, that not one 
of them dares to expect, hope, or pray that He will 
reveal Himself to a single benighted heathen mind 
without this human co-working. 

Thus, begin where you will, in the flower oi the 
field or the hyssop by the wall, and ascend from sphere 
to sphere, until there is no more space in things and 
beings created to draw another circumferential line, 
and you will see the action and result of this great law 
of Co-operative Activities. When I first looked within 
the lids of that hollyhock and was incited to read 
M 



1 62 A IV a Ik from 

the rudimental lessons of the new leaves that man's 
art had added to its scant, original volume, I had no 
thought of finding so much matter printed on its 
pages. I have transcribed it here in the order of its 
paragraphs, hoping that some who read them may see 
in this life of flowers an interest they may have 
partially overlooked. 



London to John O Groat's. 163 



CHAPTER IX. 

VISIT TO A THREE-THOUSAND-ACRE FARM SAMUEL JONAS HIS AGRI- 
CULTURAL OPERATIONS, THEIR EXTENT, SUCCESS, AND GENERAL 
ECONOMY. 

THE rain having ceased, I resumed my walk, in a 
southerly direction, to Chrishall Grange, the resi- 
dence of Samuel Jonas, who may be called the largest 
farmer in England ; not, perhaps, in extent of territory 
occupied, but in the productive capacity of the land 
cultivated, and in the values realised from it. It is 
about four miles east of Royston, bordering on the 
three counties of Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, and 
Essex, though lying mainly in the latter. It contains 
upwards of 3,000 acres, and nearly every one of them 
is arable, and under active cultivation. It consists of 
five farms, belonging to four different landlords ; still 
the} r are so contiguous and coherent that they form 
substantially one great block. No one could be more 
deeply impressed with the magnitude of such an esta- 
blishment, and of the operations it involves, than a 
New England farmer. Taking the average of our 
agriculturists, their holdings or occupations, to use an 
M 2 



164 A Walk from 

English term, will not exceed 100 acres to each ; and, 
including woodland, swamp and mountain, not over 
half of this space can he cultivated. To the owner and 
tiller of such a farm, a visit to Mr. Jonas' occupation 
must be very interesting and instructive. Here is a 
man who cultivates a space which thirty Connecticut 
farmers would feel themselves rich to own and occupy, 
with families making a population of full two hundred 
souls, supporting and filling a church and school-house. 
In the great West of America, where cattle are bred 
and fed somewhat after the manner of Russian steppes 
or Mexican ranches, such an occupation would not 
be unusual nor unexpected ; but in the very heart of 
England, containing a space less than the state of 
Virginia, a tract of such extent and value in the hands 
of a single farmer is a fact which a New Englander 
must regard at first with no little surprise. He will 
not wonder how one man can rent such a space, but 
how he can till it to advantage ; how, even with the 
help of several intelligent and active sons, he can direct 
and supervise operations which fill the hands of thirty 
solid farmers of Massachusetts. Two specific circum- 
stances enable him to perform this undertaking. 

In the first place, agriculture in England is reduced 
to an exact and rigid science. To use a nautical phrase, 
it is all plain sailing. The course is charted even in 



London to John O* Groat's. 



165 



the written contract with the landlord. The very term, 
" course" is adopted to designate the direction which 
the English farmer is to observe. Skilled hands are 
plenty and pressing to man the enterprise. With such 
a chart, and such a force, and such an open sea, it is as 
easy for him to sail the " Great Eastern " as a Thames 
schooner. The helm of the great ship plays as freely 
and faithfully to the motion of his will as the rudder of 
the small craft. Then the English farmer has a great 
advantage over the American in this circumstance : he 
can hire cheaply a grade of labor which is never brought 
to our market. Men of great skill and experience, who 
in America would conduct farms of their own, and 
could not be hired at any price, may be had here in 
abundance for foremen, at from twelve to sixteen shil- 
lings, or from three to four dollars a week, they board- 
ing and lodging themselves. And the number of such 
men is constantly increasing, from two distinct causes. 
In the first place, there is a large generation of agri- 
cultural laborers in England, now in the prime of 
manhood, who have just graduated, as it were, through 
all the scientific processes of agriculture developed in 
the last fifteen years. The ploughmen, cowmen, cart- 
men, and shepherds, even, have become familiar with 
the established routine ; and every set of these hands 
can produce one or two active and intelligent laborers 



1 66 A Walk from 

who will gladly and ably fill the post of under-foreman 
for a shilling or two a week of advanced wages. Then, 
by the constant absorption of small holdings into large 
farms, which is going on more rapidly from this in- 
creased facility of managing great occupations, a very 
considerable number of small farmers every year are fall- 
ing into the labor market, being reduced to the neces- 
sity of either emigrating to cheaper lands beyond the 
sea, or of hiring themselves out at home as managers, 
foremen, or common laborers on estates thus enlarged 
by their little holdings. From these two sources of 
supply the English tenant-farmer, beyond all question, 
is able to cultivate a larger space, and conduct more 
extensive operations than any other agriculturist in the 
world, at least by free labor. 

The first peculiarity of this large occupation I noticed, 
was the extent of the fields into which it was divided. 
I had never seen any so large before in England. 
There were only three of the whole estate under 60, 
and some contained more than 400 acres each, giving 
the whole an aspect of amplitude like that of a rolling 
prairie farm in Illinois. Not one of the little, irregular 
morsels of land half swallowed by its broad-bottomed 
hedging, which one sees so frequently in an English 
landscape, could be found on this great holding. The 
white thorn fences were new, trim, and straight, occu- 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 167 

pying as little space as possible. The five amalgamated 
farms are all light turnip soil, with the exception of 
about 200 acres, which are well drained. The whole 
surface resembles that of a heavy ground swell of the 
sea ; nearly all the fields declining gently in different 
directions. The view from the rounded crest of the 
highest wave was exceedingly picturesque and beauti- 
ful, presenting a vista of plenty which Ceres of classic 
mythology never saw; for never, in ancient Greece, 
Italy, or Egypt, were there crops of vegetation so 
diversified and contrasting with each other as are in- 
terspersed over an English farm of the present day. 

It is doubtful if 3,000 acres of land, lying in one 
solid block, could be found in England better adapted 
for testing and rewarding the most scientific and ex- 
pensive processes of agriculture than this great occu- 
pation of Mr. Jonas. Certainly, no equal space could 
present a less quantity of waste land, or occupy less in 
hedges or fences. And it is equally certain, that no 
estate of equal size is more highly cultivated, or yields 
a greater amount of production per acre. Its occupant, 
also, is what may be called an hereditary farmer. His 
father and his remote ancestors were farmers, and he, 
as in the case of the late Mr. Webb, has attained to his 
present position as an agriculturist by practical farming. 

Mr. Jonas cultivates his land on the " Four-course 



1 68 A Walk from 

system." This very term indicates the degree to which 
English agriculture has been reduced to a precise and 
rigid science. It means here, that the whole arable 
extent of his estate is divided equally between four 
great crops ; or, wheat, 750 acres ; barley and oats, 
750 ; seeds and pulse, 750 ; and roots, 750. Now, an 
American farmer, in order to form an approximate idea 
of the amount of labor given to the growth of these 
crops, must remember that all these great fields of 
wheat, oats, barley, turnips, beans, and peas, contain- 
ing in all over 2,000 acres, are hoed by hand once or 
twice. His cereals are all drilled in at 7 inches apart, 
turnips at 17. The latter are horse-hoed three or four 
times ; and as they are drilled on the flat, or without 
ridging the surface of the ground, they are crossed with 
a horse-hoe with eight V shaped blades. This operation 
leaves the young plants in bunches, which are singled 
out by a troop of children. One hand-hoeing and two 
or three more horse-hoeings finish the labor given to 
their cultivation. It is remarkable what mechanical 
skill is brought to bear upon these operations. In the 
first place, the plough cuts a furrow as straight and 
even as if it were turned by machinery, A kind of 
esprit de corps animates the ploughmen to a vigorous 
ambition in the work. They are trained to it with as 
much singleness of purpose as the smiths of Sheffield 



London to John O* Groat's. 169 

are to the forging of penknife blades. On a large 
estate like that occupied by Mr. Jonas, they constitute 
an order, not of Odd Fellows, but of Straight Furrow- 
men, and are jealous of the distinction. When the 
ground is well prepared, and made as soft, smooth, and 
even as a garden, the drilling process is performed with 
a judgment of the eye and skill of hand more marvel- 
lous still. The straightness of the lines of verdure 
which, in a few weeks, mark the tracks of the seed- 
tubes, is surprising. They are drawn and graded with 
such precision that, when the plants are at a certain 
height, a horse-hoe, with eight blades, each wide enough 
to cut the whole intervening space between two rows, 
is passed, hoeing four or five drills at once. Of course, 
if the lines of the drill and hoe did not exactly corres- 
pond with each other, whole rows of turnips would be 
cut up and destroyed. I saw this process going on in 
a turnip field, and thought it the most skilful operation 
connected with agriculture that I had ever witnessed. 

One of the principal advantages Mr. Jonas realises 
in cultivating such an extent of territory, is the ability 
to economise his working forces, of man, beast and 
agricultural machinery. He saves what may be called 
the superfluous fractions, which small farmers frequently 
lose. For instance, a man with only fifty acres would 
need a pair of stout horses, a plough, cart and all the 



170 A Walk from 

other implements necessary for the growth and gather- 
ing of the usual crops. Now Mr. Jonas has proved by 
experience, that, in cultivating his great occupation, 
the average force of two and a quarter horses is suffi- 
cient for a hundred acres. Here is a saving of almost 
one half the expense of horse-force per acre which the 
small farmer incurs, and full one half of the use of 
carts, ploughs, and other implements. The whole 
numher of horses employed is about seventy-six ; and 
the number of men and boys about a hundred. The 
whole of this great force is directed by Mr. Jonas and 
his sons with as much apparent ease and equanimity as 
the captain of a Cunarder would manifest in guiding a 
steamship across the Atlantic. The helm and ropes of 
the establishment obey the motion of one mind with 
the same readiness and harmony. 

A fact or two may serve an American farmer as a 
tangible measure whereby to estimate the extent of the 
operations thus conducted by one man. To come up 
to the standard of scientific and successful agriculture 
in England, it is deemed requisite that a tenant farmer, 
on renting an occupation, should have capital sufficient 
to invest ten pounds, or fifty dollars, per acre in 
stocking it with cattle, sheep, horses, farming imple- 
ments, fertilisers, &c. Mr. Jonas, beyond a doubt, 
invests capital after this ratio upon the estate he tills. 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 



171 



If so, then the total amount appropriated to the land 
which he rents cannot be less than 30,000, or nearly 
150,000 dollars. The inventory of his live stock, taken 
at last Michaelmas, resulted in these figures : Sheep, 
6,481; horses, 2,487; bullocks, 2,218; pigs, 452; 
making a grand total of 11,638. Every animal bred 
on the estate is fatted, but by no means with the grain 
and roots grown upon it. The outlay for oil-cake and 
corn purchased for feeding, amounts to about 4,000 
per annum. Another heavy expenditure is about 
1,700 yearly for artificial fertilisers, consisting of 
guano and blood-manure. Mr. Jonas is one of the 
directors of the company formed for the manufacture 
of the latter. 

The whole income of the establishment is realised 
from two sources meat and grain. And this is the 
distinguishing characteristic of English farming gene- 
rally. Not a pound of hay, straw or roots is sold off 
the estate. Indeed, this is usually prohibited by the 
conditions of the contract with the landlord. So 
completely has Mr. Jonas adhered to this rule, that 
he could not give me the market price of hay, straw 
or turnips per ton, as he had never sold any, and was 
not in the habit of noticing the market quotations of 
those products. I was surprised at one fact which I 
learned in connection with his economy. He keeps 



172 A Walk from 

about 170 bullocks ; buying in October and selling in 
May. Now, it would occasion an American farmer 
some wonderment to be told, that this great herd of 
cattle is fed and fatted almost entirely for the manure 
they make. It is doubtful if the difference between the 
cost and selling price averages 2, or ten dollars per 
head. For instance, the bullocks bought in will 
average 13 or 14. A ton of bruised cake and some 
meal are given to each beast before it is sent to market, 
costing from 10 to 12. When sold, the bullocks 
average 24 or 25. Thus the cake and the meal 
equal the whole difference between the buying and sell- 
ing price, so that all the roots, chaff and attendance go 
entirely to the account of manure. These three items, 
together with the value of pasturage for the months the 
cattle may lie in the fields, from October to May inclu- 
sive, could hardly amount to less than 5 per beast, 
which, for 170, would be 850. Then 1,700 are 
paid annually for guano and artificial manures. Now 
add the value of the wheat, oat and barley straw grown 
on 1,500 acres, and mostly thrown into the barn-yards 
or used as bedding for the stables, and you have one 
great division of the fertilising department of Chrishall 
Grange. The amount of these three items cannot be 
less than 3,000. Then there is another source of 
fertilisation nearly as productive and valuable. Up- 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 173 

wards of 3,000 sheep are kept on the estate, of which 
1,200 are breeding ewes. These are folded, acre by 
acre, on turnips, cole or trefoil, and those fattened for 
the market are fed with oil-cake in the field. The 
locusts of Egypt could not have left the earth barer of 
verdure than these sheep do the successive patches of 
roots in which they are penned for twenty-four or forty- 
eight hours, nor could any other process fertilise the 
land more thoroughly and cheaply. Then 76 horses 
and 200 fattening hogs add their contingent to the 
manurial expenditure and production of the establish- 
ment. Thus the fertilising material applied to the 
estate cannot amount to less than 5,000, or 24,000 
dollars per annum. 

Sheep are the most facile and fertile source of nett 
income on the estate. Indeed, nearly all the profit on 
the production of meat is realised from them. Most of 
those I saw were Southdowns and Hampshires, pure or 
crossed, with here and there a Leicester. After being 
well fattened, they fetch in the market about double 
the price paid for them as stock sheep. About 2,000, 
thus fattened, including lambs, are sold yearly. They 
probably average about 2, or ten dollars per head ; 
thus amounting to the nice little sum of 4,000 a year, 
as one of the sources of income. 

Perhaps it would be easier to estimate the total ex- 



1 74 A Walk from 

penditure than the gross income of such an establish- 
ment as that of Mr. Jonas. We have aggregated the 
former in a lump ; assuming that the whole capital 
invested in rent, live stock, agricultural machinery, 
manures, labor of man and horse, fattening material, 
&c., amounts to 30,000. We may extract from this 
aggregate several estimated items which will indicate 
the extent of his operations, putting the largest expen- 
diture at the head of the list. 

Corn and oil-cake purchased for feeding 4,000 

Guano and manufactured manures 1,700 

Labor of 100 men and boys at the average of 20 per annum . . 2,000 

Labor of 76 horses, including their keep, 20 per annum 1,500 

Use and wear of steam-engine and agricultural machinery .... 500 
Commutation money to men for beer 40Q 

10,100 

These are some of the positive annual outlays, with- 
out including rent, interest on capital invested, and 
other items that belong to the debit side of the ledger. 
The smallest on the list given I would commend to the 
consideration of every New England farmer who may 
read these pages. It is stated under the real fact. The 
capacity of English laborers for drinking strong beer 
is a wonder to the civilised world. They seem to cling- 
to this habit as to a vital condition of their very life 
and being. One would be tempted to think that malt 
liquor was a primary and bread a secondary necessity 



London to John O Groat's. 175 

to them; it must cost them most of the two, at any 
rate. And generally they are as particular about the 
quality as the quantity, and complain if it is not of 
" good body," as well as full tale. In many cases the 
farmer furnishes it to them ; sometimes brewing it 
himself, but more frequently buying it already made. 
Occasionally a farmer " commutes " with his men ; 
allowing a certain sum of money weekly in lieu of beer, 
leaving them to buy and use it as they please. I 
understood that Mr. Jonas adopts the latter course, 
not only to save himself the trouble of furnishing and 
rationing such a large quantity of beer, but also to 
induce the habit among his men of appropriating the 
money he gives them instead of drink to better pur- 
poses. The sum paid to them last year was actually 
452, or about 2,200 dollars ! Now it would be quite 
safe to say, that there is not a farm in the state of 
Connecticut that produces pasturage, hay, grain, and 
roots enough to pay this beer-bill of a single English 
occupation ! This fact may not only serve to show the 
scale of magnitude which agricultural enterprise has 
assumed in the hands of such men as Mr. Jonas, but 
also to indicate to our American farmers some of the 
charges upon English agriculture from which they are 
exempt ; thanks to the Maine Law, or, to a better one 
still, that of voluntary disuse of strong drink on our 



176 A Walk from 

farms. I do not believe that 100 laboring men and 
boys could be found on one establishment in Great 
Britain more temperate, intelligent, industrious, and 
moral than the set employed by Mr. Jonas. Still, 
notice the tax levied upon his land by this beer-impost. 
It amounted last year to three English shillings, or 
72 cents, on every acre of the five consolidated farms, 
including all the space occupied by hedges, copses, 
buildings, &c. Suppose a Maine farmer were obliged, 
by an inexorable law of custom, to pay a beer-tax of 
72 cents per acre on his estate of 150 acres, or 108 
dollars annually, would he not be glad to " commute " 
with his hired men, by leaving them in possession of 
his holding and migrating to some distant section of 
the country where such a custom did not exist ? 

The gross income of this great holding it would be 
more difficult to estimate. But no one can doubt the 
yearly issues of Mr. Jonas' balance-sheet, when he has 
been able to expand his operations gradually to their 
present magnitude from the capital and experience 
acquired by successful farming. Perhaps the principal 
sources of revenue would approximate to the following 
figures : 

2,000 fat sheep and lambs at 2 4,000 

150 bullocksat 25 3,750 



Carried forward 7,750 



177 



London to John OGroafs. 

Brought forward 7,750 

200 fat pigs = 40,000 Ibs., at 4d 666 

22,500 bushels of wheat at 6s 6,750 

9,375 oats at 2s 937 - 

7,500 barley at 3s 1,125 z 

Total of these estimated items 17,228 

This, of course, is a mere estimate of the principal 
sources of income upon which Mr. Jonas depends for 
a satisfactory result of his balance-sheet. Each item is 
probably within the mark. I have put down the crop of 
wheat of 750 acres at the average of 30 bushels per 
acre, and at 6s. per bushel, which are quite moderate 
figures. I have assumed 375 acres each for barley and 
oats, estimating the former at 40 bushels per acre, and 
the latter at 50 ; then reserving half of the two crops 
for feeding and fatting the live stock; also all the 
beans, peas, and roots for the same purpose. If the 
estimate is too high on some items, the products sold^ 
and not enumerated in the foregoing list, such as cole 
and other seeds, will rectify, perhaps, the differences, 
and make the general result presented closely approxi- 
mate to the real fact. 

As there is probably no other farm in Great Britain 
of the same size so well calculated to test the best 
agricultural science and economy of the day as the 
great occupation of Mr. Jonas, and as I am anxious 
to convey to American farmers a well -developed idea 






178 A Walk from 

of what that science and economy are achieving in this 
country, I will dwell upon a few other facts connected 
with this establishment. The whole space of 3,000 acres 
is literally under cultivation, or in a sense which we 
in New England do not generally give to that term 
that is, there is not, I believe, a single acre of per- 
manent meadow in the whole territory. All the vast 
amount of hay consumed, and all the pasture grasses 
have virtually to be grown like grain. There is so 
much ploughing and sowing involved in the production 
of these grass crops, that they are called " seeds." Thus, 
by this four-course system, every field passes almost 
annually under a different cropping, and is mowed two 
or three times in ten years. This fact, in itself, will 
not only suggest the immense amount of labor applied, 
but also the quality and condition of 3,000 acres of 
land that can be surfaced to the scythe in this manner. 
The seeds or grasses sown by Mr. Jonas for pasturage 
and hay are chiefly white and red clover and trefoil. 
His rule of seeding is the following : 

Wheat, from 8 to 10 pecks per acre. 

Barley 12 to 14 

Oats 18 to 22 

Winter Beans, 8 

Ked Clover, 20 Ibs. 

White Clover, 16 Ibs. 

Trefoil, 30 to 35 Ibs. 

This, in New England, would be called very heavy 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 179 

seeding, especially in regard to oats and the grasses. 

1 believe that 12 pecks of oats to the acre rather exceed 
our average rule. Good clover seed should weigh 2 Ihs. 
to the quart, and 8 quarts, or 16 Ibs., are the usual 
seeding with us. 

As labor of horse and man must be economised to 
the best advantage on such an estate, it may be inte- 
resting to know the expense of the principal operations. 
The cost of ploughing averages 7s. 6d. or $1. 80c. per 
acre. For roots the land is ploughed three or four 
times, besides harrowing, drilling, and rolling. The 
hoeing of wheat and roots varies from 2s. to 5s., or 
from 48 cents to $1. 20c. per acre. 

The sheep are all folded on turnips or grass fields, 
except the breeding ewes in the lambing season. The 
enclosures are made of hurdles, of which all reading 
Americans have read, but not one in a thousand ever 
has seen. They are a kind of diminutive, portable post- 
and-rail fence, of the New England pattern, made up 
in permanent lengths, so light that a stout man might 
carry two or three of them on his shoulders at once. 
The two posts are sawed or split pieces of wood, about 

2 inches thick, 3 wide, and from 5 to 6 feet in length. 
They are generally square-morticed for the rails, which 
are frequently what we should call split hoop-poles, 
but in the best kind are slats of hard wood, about two 

N2 



1 80 A Walk from 

and a half inches wide and one in thickness. Midway 
"between the two posts, the rails are nailed to an upright 
slat or brace, to keep them from swaying. Sometimes 
a farmer makes his own hurdles, thus furnishing indoor 
work for his men in winter, when they cannot labor in 
the fields ; but most generally they are bought of those 
who manufacture them on a large scale. Some idea of 
the extent of sheep-folding on Chrishall Grange may 
be inferred from the fact, that the hurdling on it, if 
placed in one straight, continuous line, would reach 
full ten miles! 

A portable steam-engine, of 12 horse-power, looking 
like a common railway locomotive strayed from its track 
and taken up and housed in a farmer's waggon-shed, 
performs prodigies of activity and labor. Indeed, search 
the three realms through and through, and you would 
hardly find one on its own legs doing such remarkable 
varieties of work. Briareus, with all his fabled facul- 
ties, never had such numerous and supple fingers as 
this creature of human invention. When set a-going, 
they are clattering and whisking and frisking every- 
where, on the barn-floor, on the hay-loft, in the granary, 
under the eaves, down cellar, and all this at the same 
time. It is doubtful if any stationary engine in a 
machine shop ever performed more diversified operations 
at once ; thus proving most conclusively how a farmer 



London to John O* Groat's. 181 

may work motive power which it was once thought 
preposterous in him to think of using. It threshes 
wheat and other kinds of grain at the rate of from 
400 to 500 bushels a day ; it conveys the straw up to 
a platform across what we call the " great beams," where 
it is cut into chaff and dropped into a great bay, at the 
trifling expense of sixpence, or twelve cents, per quan- 
tity grown on an acre ! While it is doing this in one 
direction, it is turning machinery in another that cleans 
and weighs the grain off into sacks ready for the 
market. Open the doors right and left and you find 
it at work like reason, breaking oil-cake, grinding corn 
for the fat stock, turning the grindstone, pitching, 
pounding, paring, rubbing, grubbing, and twisting, 
threshing, wrestling, chopping, flopping, and hopping 
after the manner of " The Waters of Lodore." 

The housings for live stock are most admirably con- 
structed as well as extensive, and all the great yards 
are well fitted for making and delivering manure. 
I noticed here the best arrangement for feeding swine 
that I had ever seen before, and of a very simple 
character. Instead of revolving troughs, or those that 
are to be pulled out like drawers to be cleaned, a long, 
stationary one, generally of iron, extends across the 
whole breadth of the compartment next to the feeding 
passage. The board or picket-fence forming this end 



1 82 A Walk from 

of the enclosure, from 8 to 12 feet in length, is hung 
on a pivot at each side, playing in an iron ring or 
socket let into each of the upright posts that support 
it. Midway in the lower rail of this fence is a drop 
bolt which falls into the floor just behind the trough. 
At the feeding time, the man has only to raise this 
bolt and let it fall on the inner side, and he has the 
whole length and width of the trough free to clear with 
a broom and to fill with the feed. Then, raising the 
bolt and bringing it back to its first place, the operation 
is performed in a minute with the greatest economy 
and convenience. 

There was one feature of this great farm home which 
I regarded with much satisfaction. It was the housing 
of the laborers employed on the estate. This is done 
in blocks of well-built, well-ventilated, and very com- 
fortable cottages, all within a stone's throw of the noble 
old mansion occupied by Mr. Jonas. Thus, no long 
and weary miles after the fatigue of the day, or before 
its labor begins, have to be walked over by his men in 
the cold and dark, as in many cases in which the agri- 
cultural laborer is obliged to trudge on foot from a 
distant village to his work, making a hard and sunless 
journey at both ends of the day. 

Although my visit at this, perhaps the largest, farm- 
ing establishment in England, occupied only a few 



London to John C? Groat's. 183 

hours, I felt, on leaving, that I had never spent an 
equal space of time more profitably and pleasantly in 
the pursuit or appreciation of agricultural knowledge. 
The open and large-hearted hospitality and genial 
manners of the proprietor and his family seemed to 
correspond with the dimensions and qualities of his 
holding, and to complete, vitalise, and beautify the 
symmetries of a true ENGLISH FARMER'S HOME. 



1 84 A Walk from 



CHAPTEE X. 

ROYSTON AND ITS SPECIALITIES ENTERTAINMENT IN A SMALL VILLAGE 

ST. IVES VISITS TO ADJOINING VILLAGES A FEN-FARM 

CAPITAL INVESTED IN ENGLISH AND AMERICAN AGRICULTURE 

COMPARED ALLOTMENTS AND GARDEN TENANTRY BARLEY 

GROWN ON OATS. 

I1ROM Chrishall Grange I went on to Royston, 
where I found very quiet and comfortable quarters 
in a small inn, called "The Catherine Wheel," for 
what reason it is not yet clear to my mind, and the 
landlady could not enlighten me on the subject. I am 
not sufficiently "posted up" in the history of the 
minor or local celebrities of the country to know which 
one or what is designed to be honored by this tavern 
souvenir. I have noticed two inns in London of the 
same name, and have seen it mounted on several other 
public houses in different parts of England. Is the 
whole of it a human appellation, or is it a half and half 
composition, meaning Catherine's Wheel, in the posses- 
sive case, or the Catherine Wheel, in the same order of 
signification as the Wellington Boot? I intend to 
inquire out the private history of this name and make 
a note of it in the Appendix. 



London to John O' Groat's. 



185 



Boyston is a goodly and comfortable town, just 
inside the eastern boundary of Hertfordshire. It has 
its full share of half-legible and interesting antiquities, 
including the ruins of a royal palace, a cave, and 
several other broken monuments of the olden time, 
all festooned with the web-work of hereditary fancies, 
legends, and shreds of unravelled history dyed to the 
vivid colors of variegated imagination. It also boasts 
and enjoys a great, breezy, furzy common, large enough 
to hold such another town, and which few in the king- 
dom can show. Then, if it cannot cope with Grlaston- 
bury in showing, to the envious and credulous world, 
a thorn-tree planted by Joseph of Arimathsea, and 
blossoming always at Christmas, it can fly a bird of 
greater antiquity, which never flapped its wings else- 
where, so far as I can learn. It may be the lineal 
descendant of Noah's raven that has come down 
to this particular community without a cross with 
any other branch of the family. It is called "The 
Eoyston Crow," and is a variety of the genus which 
you will find in no other country. It is a great, 
heavy bird, larger than his colored American cousin, 
and is distinguished by a white back. Indeed, seen 
walking at a distance, he looks like our Bobolink 
expanded to the size of a large hen-hawk. To have 
such a wild bird all to themselves, and of its own free 



1 86 A Walk from 

will, notwithstanding the length and power of its 
wings, and the force of centrifugal attractions, is a 
distinction which the good people of this favored town 
have good reason to appreciate at its proper value. 
Nor are they insensible to the honor. The town 
printer put into my hands an annual publication called 
" THE ROYSTON CROW," containing much interesting 
and valuable information, especially in reference to 
chronology, astronomy, necrology, and local history. 
It might properly have embraced a chapter on enty- 
mology ; but, perhaps, it would have been impolitic 
for the personal interests of the bird to have given 
wide publicity to facts in this department of knowledge. 
For, after all, there may exist in the neighborhood 
certain special kinds of bugs and other insects which 
lie at the foundation of his preference for the locality. 

The next day I again faced northward, and walked 
as far as Cuckfield, a small, rambling village, which 
looked as if it had not shaved and washed its face, and 
put on a clean shirt for a shocking length of time. It 
was dark when I reached it; having walked twelve 
miles after three p.m. There was only one inn, 
properly speaking, in the town, and since the old 
coaching time, it had contracted itself into the fag-end 
of a large, dark, seedy-looking building, where it lived 
by selling beer and other sharp and cheap drinks to 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 187 

the villagers ; nineteen-twentieths of whom appeared to 
be agricultural laborers. The entertainment proffered 
on the sign over the door was evidently limited to the 
tap-room. Indeed, this and the great, low-jointed 
and brick-floored kitchen opening into it, seemed to 
constitute all the living or inhabited space in the 
building. I saw, at a glance, that the chance for a 
bed was faint and small ; and I asked Landlord Rufus 
for one doubtingly, as one would ask for a ready-made 
pulpit or piano at a common cabinet-maker's shop. 
He answered me clearly enough before he spoke, and 
he spoke as if answering a strange and half-impertinent 
question, looking at me searchingly, as if he suspected 
I was quizzing him. His " No ! " was short and 
decided ; but, seeing I was honest and earnest in the 
inquiry, he softened his negative with the explanation 
that their beds were all full. It seemed strange to me 
that this should be so in a building large enough for 
twenty, and I hesitated hopefully, thinking he might 
remember some small room in which he might put me 
for the night. To awaken a generous thought in him 
in this direction, I intimated how contented I would 
be with the most moderate accommodation. But it was 
in vain. The house was full, and I must seek for 
lodging elsewhere. There were two or three other 
public houses in the village that might take me in. I 



1 88 A Walk from 

went to them one by one. They all kept plenty of 
beer, but no bed. They, too, looked at me with 
surprise for asking for such a thing. Apparently, there 
had been no demand for such entertainment by any 
traveller since the stage-coach ceased to run through 
the village. I went up and down, trying to negociate 
with the occupants of some of the best-looking cottages 
for a cot or bunk ; but they had none to spare, as the 
number of wondering children that stared at me kindly, 
at once suggested before I put the question. 

It was now quite dark, and I was hungry and tired ; 
and the prospect of an additional six miles' walk was 
not very animating. What next ? I will go back to 
Landlord Eufus and try a new influence on his sensi- 
bilities. Who knows but it will succeed ? I will touch 
him on his true character as a Briton. So I went back, 
with my last chance hanging on the experiment. I 
told him I was an American traveller, weary, hungry 
and infirm of health, and would pay him an extra price 
for an extra effort to give me a bed for the night. I 
did not say all this in a Romanus-civis-sum sort of 
tone. No ! dear, Honest Old Abe, you would have 
done the same in my place. I made the great 
American Eagle coo like a dove in the request ; and it 
touched the best instincts of the British Lion within 
the man. It was evident in a moment that I had put 



London to ^o/m O' Groat's. 189 

my case in a new aspect to him. He would talk with 
the "missus;" he withdrew into the back kitchen, a 
short conference ensued, and both came out together 
and informed me that they had found a bed, unexpec- 
tedly vacant, for my accommodation. And they would 
get up some tea and bread and butter for me, too. 
Capital ! a sentiment of national pride stole in between 
every two feelings of common satisfaction at this result. 
The thought would come in and whisper, not for your 
importunity as a common fellow mortal were this bed 
and this loaf unlocked to you, but because you were 
an American citizen. 

So I followed " the missus " into that great kitchen, 
and sat down in one corner of the huge fire-place while 
she made the tea. It was a capacious museum of 
culinary curiosities of the olden time, all arranged in 
picturesque groups, yet without any aim at effect. 
Pots, kettles, pans, spits, covers, hooks and trammels 
of the Elizabethan period, apparently the heir-looms 
of several intersecting generations, showed in the fire- 
light like a work of artistry ; the sharp, silvery 
brightness of the tin and the florid flush of burnished 
copper making distinct disks in the darkness. It was 
with a rare sentiment of comfort that I sat by that fire 
of crackling faggots, looked up at the stars that dropped 
in their light as they passed over the top of the great 



190 A Walk from 

chimney, and glanced around at the sides of that old 
English kitchen, pannelled with plates and platters and 
dishes of all sizes and uses. And this fire was kindled 
and this tea-kettle was singing for me really because 
I was an American ! I could not forget that so I 
deemed it my duty to keep up the character. There- 
fore, I told the missus and her bright-eyed niece a great 
many stories about America; some of which excited 
their admiration and wonder. Thus I sat at the little, 
round, three-legged table, inside the outspreading 
chimney, for an hour or more, and made as cosy and 
pleasant a meal of it as ever I ate. Besides all this, I 
had the best bed in the house, and several "Good 
nights!" on retiring to it, uttered with hearty good- 
will by voices softened to an accent of kindness. 
Next morning I was introduced into the best parlor, 
and had a capital breakfast, and then resumed my 
walk with a pleasant memory of my entertainment 
in that village inn. 

I passed through a fertile and interesting section to 
St. Ives, in Huntingdonshire. Here I remained with 
some friends for a week, visiting neighboring villages 
by day and returning at night. St. Ives is a pleasant, 
well-favored town, just large enough to constitute a 
coherent, neighborly, and well-regulated community. 
It is the centre-piece of a rich, rural picture, which, 



London to John O' Groat's. 191 

without any strikingly salient features, pleases the 
eye with lineaments of quiet beauty symmetrically 
developed by the artistry of nature. The river Ouse 
meanders through a wide, fertile flat, or what the 
Scotch would call a strath, which gently rises on 
each side into pleasantly undulating uplands. Parks, 
groves, copses and hedge-row trees are interspersed 
very happily, and meadow, pasture, and grain-fields 
seen through them, with villages, hamlets, farm-houses, 
and isolated cottages, make up a landscape that grows 
more and more interesting as you contemplate it. And 
this placid locality, with its peaceful river sesmingly 
sleeping in the bosom of its long and level meadows, 
was the scene of Oliver Cromwell's young, fiery man- 
hood. Here, where Nature invites to tranquil occupa- 
tions and even exercises of the mind, he trained the 
latent energies of his will for action in the great drama 
that overturned a throne and transformed a nation. 
Here, till very lately, stood his " barn," and here he 
drilled the first squadron of his "Ironsides." 

My friend and host drove me one day to see a fen 
farm a few miles beyond Eamsey, at which we remained 
over night and enjoyed the old-fashioned English hos- 
pitality of the establishment with lively relish. It was 
called " The Four-Hundred- Acre Farm," to distinguish 
it from a hundred others, laid out on the same dead 



192 A Walk from 

level, with lines and angles as straight and sharp as 
those of a brick. You will meet scores of persons in 
England who speak admiringly of the great prairies of 
our Western States but I never saw one in Illinois as 
extensive as the vast level expanse you may see in 
Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire. In fact, the space 
of a large county has been fished up out of a shallow 
sea of salt water by human labor and capital. I will 
not dwell here upon the expense, process, and result of 
this gigantic operation. It would require a whole 
chapter to convey an approximate idea of the character 
and dimensions of the enterprise. The feat of Cyrus 
in turning the current of the Euphrates was the mere 
making of a short mill-race compared with the labor of 
lifting up these millions of acres bodily out of the flood 
that had covered and held them in quiescent solution 
since the world began. 

This Great Prairie of England, generally called here 
the Fens, or Fenland, would be an interesting and 
instructive section for the agriculturists of our Western 
States to visit. They would see how such a region can 
be made quite picturesque, as well as luxuriantly pro- 
ductive. Let them look off upon the green sea from 
one of the upland waves, and it will be instructive to 
them to see and know, that all the hedge-trees, groves, 
and copses that intersect and internect the vast expanse 






London to John O 1 Groat's. 193 

of green and gold were planted by man's hands. Such 
a landscape would convince them that the prairies of 
Illinois and Iowa may be recovered from their almost 
depressing monotony by the same means. The soil of 
this district is apparently the same as that around 
Chicago black and deep, on a layer of clay. It pul- 
verises as easily in dry weather, and makes the same 
inky and sticky composition in wet. To give it more 
body, or to cross it with a necessary and supplementary 
element, a whole field is often trenched by the spade as 
clean as one could be furrowed by the plough. By 
this process the substratum of clay is thrown up, to a 
considerable thickness, upon the light, black, almost 
volatile soil, and mixed with it when dry ; thus giving 
it a new character and capacity of production. 

Everything seems to grow on a Californian scale in 
this fen district. Although the soil thus rescued from 
the waters that had flooded and half dissolved it, was 
at first as deep, black, and naturally fertile as that of 
our prairies, those who commenced its cultivation did 
not make the same mistake as did our Western farmers. 
They did not throw their manure into the broad drain- 
ing canals to get rid of it, trusting to the inexhaustible 
fertility of the alluvial earth, as did the wheat growers 
of Indiana and Illinois to their cost ; but they hus- 
banded and well applied all the resources of their barn- 



194 ^ Walk from 

yards. In consequence of this economy, there is no 
deterioration of annual averages of their crops to be 
recorded, as in some of our prairie States, which have 
been boasting of the natural and inexhaustible fertility 
of their soil even with the record of retrograde statistics 
before their eyes. The grain and root crops are very 
heavy ; and a large business is done in growing turnip 
seed for the world in some sections of this fen country. 
A large proportion of the quantity we import comes 
from these low lands. 

Our host of the Four-Hundred- Acre Farm took us 
over his productive occupation, which was in a very 
high state of cultivation. The wheat was yellowing to 
harvest, and promised a yield of 42 bushels to the acre. 
The oats were very heavy, and the root crops looked 
well, especially a field of mangel-wurzel. He appor- 
tions his land to different crops after this ratio : Wheat, 
120 acres ; oats, 80 ; rye-grass and clover, 50 ; roots, 60. 
His live stock consisted of 300 sheep, 50 to 60 head of 
cattle, and 70 to 80 hogs. His working force was from 
10 to 12 men, 14 farm horses, and 4 nags. It may 
interest some of my American readers to know the 
number, character, and cost of the implements em- 
ployed by this substantial English farmer in culti- 
vating an estate of 400 acres. I noted down the 
following list, when he was showing us his tool house : 



London .to John O 1 Groat's. 195 

$ c. $ c. 

6 Ploughs, at 4 each =19 20 .. 24=11520 

6 Horse-carts, ,,14 67 20 . . 84 , 403 20 

1 Large Iron Roller and Gearing, 13 

1 Cambridge Eoller, 14 

1 Twelve-Coulter Drill, 46 

3 Harrows.. , 3 . ,,1440 9 



2 Great Harrows 3 14 40 . . 6 



62 40 
67 20 
220 80 
43 20 

28 80 



Total cost of Implements 196 $940 80 

These figures will represent the working forces and 
implemental machinery of a well-tilled farm of 400 
acres in England. They will also indicate the amount 
of capital required to cultivate an estate of this extent 
here. Let us compare it with the amount generally 
invested in New England for a farm of equal size. 
Thousands that have been under cultivation for a hundred 
years, may be bought for 5, or $25, per acre, including 
house, barn, and other buildings and appurtenances. 
It is a very rare thing for a man with us to buy 400 
acres at once ; but if he did, it would probably be on 
these conditions : He would pay 400, or 2,000, down 
at the time of the purchase, giving his notes for the 
remaining 1,600 or $8,000, at 6 per cent, interest 
payable annually, together with the yearly instalment 
of principal specified in each note. He would perhaps 
have 200, or $1,000, left of his capital for working 
power and agricultural implements. He would pro- 
bably divide it after the following manner : 
o 2 



196 A Walk from 

* 

2 Yokes of oxen at 20 = 40 = 250 

1 Horse 20 100 

2 Ox-carts at 15 30 150 

1 Waggon 20 100 

2 Ox-sleds at 1 2 10 

2 Ox-ploughs at ,,2 4 20 

1 Single horse-plough 1 5 

2 Harrows 2 4 20 

Cradles, scythes, hoes, rakes, flails, &c. . . 4 20 

Fanning-mill,hay-cutter,andcorn-sheller 4 20 

15 Cows, steers, and heifers 45 225 

6 Shoats, or pigs six months old 10 50 

These figures would indicate a large operation for a 
practical New England farmer, who should undertake 
to purchase and cultivate an estate of 400 acres. In- 
deed, not one in a hundred buying such a large tract 
of land would think of purchasing all the implements 
on this list at once, or entirely new. One of his carts, 
sleds, and harrows would very probably be "second- 
handed," and bought at half the price of a new one. 
Thus, a substantial farmer with us would think he 
was beginning on a very satisfactory and liberal foot- 
ing, if he had 200, or $1,000, in ready money for 
stocking a holding of 400 acres with working cattle 
and implemental machinery, cows, pigs, &c. Now, 
compare this outlay with that of our host of the 
Four-Hundred-Acre Farm in Lincolnshire. We will 
begin with his 



London to John O' Groat's. 197 

* 

14 Farm horses, at the low figure of 20 each = 280 = 1,400 

4 Nags, or saddle and carriage horses . . 20 80 400 

300 Stock sheep 1 ,,300 1,500 

70 Pigs, of different ages 2 ,,140 700 

50 Head of cattle (cows, bullocks, &c.) .. 12 600 3,000 
Carts, drills, rollers, harrows, ploughs and other 

implements 200 1,000 

1,600 $8,000 

The average rent of such land in England must be 
at least 1 10s. per acre, and the tenant farmer must 
pay half of this out of the capital he begins with, 
which, on 400 acres, would amount to 300. Then, 
if he buys a quantity of artificial manures equal to the 
value of 10s. per acre, he will need to expend in this 
department 200. Next, if he purchases corn and 
oil-cake at the same ratio for his cattle and sheep as 
that adopted by Mr. Jonas, of Chrishall Grange, he will 
want 1,000 for his live stock of all kinds. In addi- 
tion to these items of expenditure, he must pay his 
men weekly ; and the wages of ten, at 10s. per week, 
for six months, amount to 130. Add an economical 
allowance for family expenses for the same length of 
time, and for incidental outgoes, and you make up the 
aggregate of 4,000, which is 10 to the acre, which 
an English farmer needs to have and invest on entering 
upon the cultivation of a farm, great or small. This 
amount, as has been stated elsewhere, is the rule for 
successful agriculture in this country. 



198 A Walk from 

These facts will measure the difference between the 
amounts of capital invested in equal spaces of land in 
England and America. It is as ten to one, assuming 
a moderate average. Here a man would need 1,500, 
or more than $7,000, to begin with on renting a farm 
of 150 acres, in order to cultivate it successfully. In 
New England, a man would think he began under 
favorable auspices if he were able to enter upon the 
occupancy of equal extent with 100, or about $500. 

On returning from the Fens, I passed the night and 
most of the following day at Woodhurst, a village a 
few miles north of St. Ive's, on the upland rising 
gently from the valley of the Ouse. My host here 
was a farmer owning the land he tilled, cultivating 
it and the moral character and happiness of the little 
community, in which he moved as a father, with an 
equally generous heart and hand, and reaping a liberal 
reward from both departments of his labor. He 
took me over his fields and showed me his crops and 
live stock, which were in excellent condition. Harvest- 
ing had already commenced, and the reapers were at 
work, men and women, cutting wheat and barley. 
Few of them used sickles, but a curved knife, wider 
than the sickle, of nearly the same shape, minus the 
teeth. A man generally uses two of them. With the 
one in his left hand he gathers in a good sweep of 



London to John O Groat's. 199 

grain, bends it downward, and with the other strikes it 
close to the ground, as we cut Indian corn. With the 
left-hand hook and arm, he carries on the grain from 
the inside to the outside of the swath or " work," 
making three or four strokes with the cutting knife ; 
then, at the end, gathers it all up and lays it down 
in a heap for binding. This operation is called 
" bagging." It does not do the work so neatly as the 
sickle, and is apt to pull up many stalks by the roots 
with the earth attaching to them, especially at the last, 
outside stroke. 

I was struck with the economy adopted by my host in 
loading, carting and stacking or ricking his grain. The 
operation was really performed like clockwork. Two or 
three men were stationed at the rick to unload the carts, 
two in the fields to load them, and several boys to lead 
them back and forth to the two parties. They were all 
one-horse carts, and so timed that a loaded one was 
always at the rick and an empty one always in the field ; 
thus keeping the men at both ends fully employed from 
morning until night, pitching on and pitching off; 
while boys, at 6d. or 8d. a day, led the horses. 

On passing through the stables and housings for 
stock, I noticed a simple, yet ingenious contrivance for 
watering cattle, which I am not sure I can describe 
accurately enough, without a drawing, to convey a 



200 A Walk from 

tangible idea of it to my agricultural neighbors in 
America. It may be called the buoy-cock. In the first 
place, the water is brought into a cistern placed at one 
end of the stable or shed at a sufficient elevation to give 
it the necessary fall in all the directions in which it is 
to be conducted. The pipe used for each cow-box or 
manger connects each with the cistern, and the distri- 
buting end of it rests upon, or is suspended over, the 
trough assigned to each animal. About one-third of 
this trough, which was here a cast-iron box, about 
twelve inches deep and wide, protrudes through the 
boarding of the stable. In this outside compartment 
is placed a hollow copper ball attached to a lever, which 
turns the axle or pivot of the cock. Now, this little 
buoy, of course, rises and falls with the water in the 
trough. When the trough is full, the buoy rises and 
raises the lever so as to shut off the water entirely. At 
every sip the animal takes, the buoy descends and lets 
on again, to a drop, a quantity equal to that abstracted 
from the inside compartment. Thus the trough is 
always kept full of pure water, without losing a drop of 
it through a waste-pipe or overflow. Where a great 
herd of cattle and a drove of horses have to be supplied 
from a deep well, as in the case of Mr. Jonas, at Chris- 
hall Grange, this buoy-cock must save a great amount 
of labor. 






London to John O Groat's. 201 

I saw also here in perfection that garden allotment 
system which is now coming widely into vogue in 
England, not only adjoining large towns like Bir- 
mingham, but around small villages in the rural 
districts. It is well worthy of being introduced in 
New England and other states, where it would work 
equally well in various lines of influence. A land- 
owner divides up a field into allotments, each generally 
containing a rood, and lets them to the mechanics, 
tradespeople and agricultural laborers of the town or 
village, who have no gardens of their own for the 
growth of vegetables. Each of these is better than a 
savings'-bank to the occupant. He not only deposits 
his odd pennies but his odd hours in it ; keeping both 
away from the public-house, or from places and habits 
of idleness and dissipation. The days of Spring and 
Summer here are very long, and a man can see to work 
in the field as early as three o'clock in the morning, 
and as late as nine at night. So every journeyman 
blacksmith, baker or shoemaker may easily find four or 
five hours in the twenty-four for work on his allotment, 
after having completed the task or time due to his em- 
ployer. He generally keeps a pig, and is on the qui rive 
to make and collect all the manure he can for his little 
farm. A field of several acres, thus divided and culti- 
vated in allotments, presents as striking a combination 



2O2 A Walk from 

of colors as an Axminster carpet. As every rood is 
subdivided into a great variety of vegetables, and 
as forty or fifty of such patches, lying side by side, 
present, in one coup d'ceil, all the alternations of which 
these crops and colors are susceptible, the effect is very 
picturesque. 

My Woodhurst friend makes his allotment system a 
source of much social enjoyment to himself and the 
poor villagers. He lets forty-seven patches, each con- 
taining twenty poles. Every tenant pays 10s., or 
$2 40c., annual rent for his little holding, Mr. E. 
drawing the manure for each, which is always one good 
load a year. Here, too, these little spade-farmers are 
put under the same regime as the great tenant agricul- 
turists of the country. Each must farm his allotment 
according to the terms of the yearly lease. He must 
dig up his land with spade or pick, not plough it ; and 
he is not allowed to work on it upon the Sabbath. 
But encouragements greatly predominate over restric- 
tions, and stimulate and reward a high cultivation. 
Eight prizes are offered to this end, of the following 
amounts : 10s., 7s. 6d., 5s., 4s., 3s., 2s. 6d., 2s. and 
Is. Every one who competes must not have more 
than half his allotment in potatoes. The greater the 
variety of vegetables the other half contains, the better 
is his chance for the first prize. The appraiser is some 



London to John G 1 Groat's. 



203 



disinterested person of good judgment, perhaps from an 
adjoining town, who knows none of the competitors. 
To prevent any possible favoriteism, the allotments are 
all numbered, and he awards prizes to numbers only, 
not knowing to whom they belong. Another feature, 
illustrating the generous disposition of the proprietor, 
characterises this good work. On the evening appointed 
for paying the rents, he gets up a regular, old-fashioned 
English supper of roast beef and plum-pudding for 
them, giving each fourpence instead of beer, so that 
they may all go home sober as well as cheerful. To 
see him preside at that table, with his large, round, 
rosy face beaming upon them with the quiet benevo- 
lence of a good heart, and to hear the fatherly and 
neighborly talks he makes to them, would be a picture 
and preaching which might be commended to the 
farmers of all countries. 

I saw also a curious phenomenon in the natural 
world on this farm, which perhaps will be regarded as 
a fiction of fancy by many a reader. It was a large 
field of barley grown from oats ! We have recently 
dwelt upon some of the co-workings of Nature and Art 
in the development of flowers and of several useful 
plants But here is something stranger still, that seems 
to diverge from the line of any law hitherto known in 
the vegetable world. Still, for aught one can know ;it 



2O4 A Walk from 

this stage of its action, it may be the same general law 
of development which we have noticed, only carried 
forward to a more advanced point of progress. I would 
commend it to the deep and serious study of naturalists, 
botanists, or to those philosophers who should preside 
over the department of investigation to which the sub- 
ject legitimately belongs. I will only say what I saw 
with my own eyes and heard with my own ears. Here, 
I repeat, was a large field of heavy grain, ready for 
harvest. The head and berry were barley, and the 
stalk and leaves were oat ! Here, certainly, is a mys- 
tery. The barley sown on this field was the first-born 
offspring of oats. And the whole process by which 
this wonderful transformation is wrought, is simply 
this, and nothing more : The oats are sown about the 
last week in June ; and, before coming into ear, they 
are cut down within one inch and a half of the ground. 
This operation is repeated a second time. They are 
then allowed to stand through the winter, and the fol- 
lowing season the produce is barley. This is the plain 
statement of the case in the very words of the originator 
of this process, and of this strange transmutation. The 
only practical result of it which he claims is this : that 
the straw of the barley thus produced is stouter, and 
stands more erect, and therefore less liable to be beaten 
down by heavy wind or rain. Then, perhaps, it may 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 



205 



be added, this oat straw headed with barley is more 
valuable as fodder for live stock than the natural barley 
straw. But the value of this result is nothing com- 
pared with the issue of the experiment as proving the 
existence of a principle or law hitherto undiscovered, 
which may be applied to all kinds of plants for the use 
of man and beast. If any English reader of these 
Notes is disposed to inquire more fully into this sub- 
ject, I am sure he may apply without hesitation to 
Mr. John Ekins, of Bruntisham, near St. Ives, who 
will supply any additional information needed. He 
presented me with a little sample bag of this oat-born 
barley, which I hope to show my agricultural neighbors 
on returning to America. 



206 A Walk from 



CHAPTEE XI. 

THE MILLER OF HOUGHTON 'AN HOUR IN HUNTINGDON OLD HOUSES 

WHITEWASHED TAPESTRY AND WORKS OF ART "THE OLD MERMAID" 

AND "THE GREEN MAN" TALK WITH AGRICULTURAL LABORERS 
THOUGHTS ON THEIR CONDITION, PROSPECTS, AND POSSIBILITIES. 

AFTEE a little more than a week's visit in St. Ives 
and neighboring villages, I again resumed my 
staff and set out in a westerly direction, in order to 
avoid the flat country which lay immediately north- 
ward for a hundred miles and more. Followed the 
north bank of the Ouse to Huntingdon. On the way, 
I stopped and dined with a gentleman in Houghton 
whose hospitality and good works are well known to 
many Americans. The locality mentioned is so identi- 
fied with his name, that they will understand whom I 
mean. There was a good and tender-hearted man who 
lived in our Boston, called Deacon Grant ; and I hope 
he is living still. He was so kind to everybody in 
trouble, and everybody in trouble went to him so 
spontaneously for sympathy and relief, that no one 
ever thought of him as belonging to a single religious 
congregation, but regarded him as Deacon of the 
whole of Boston a kind of universal father, whose 



London to John O' Groat's. 207 

only children were the orphans and the poor men's sons 
and daughters of the city. The Miller of Houghton, 
as some of my readers well know, is just such another 
man, with one slight difference, which is to his advan- 
tage, as a gift of grace. He has all of Deacon Grant's 
self-diffusing life of love for his kind, generous and 
tender dispositions towards the poor and needy, and 
more than the Deacon's means of doing good, and, with 
all this, the indomitable energy and will and even the 
look of Cromwell. During my stay in the neighbor- 
hood, I was present at two large gatherings at his 
House of Canvass, with which he supplements his 
family mansion when the latter lacks the capacity of 
his heart in the way of accommodation. This tent, 
which he erects on his lawn, will hold a large congre- 
gation ; and, on both the occasions to which I refer, 
was well filled with men, women, and children from far 
and near. The first was a reunion of the Sunday- 
school teachers and pupils of the county, to whom he 
gave a sumptuous dinner ; after which followed addresses 
and some business transactions of the association. The 
second was the examination of the British School of the 
village, founded and supported, I believe, by himself. 
At the conclusion of the exercises, which were exceed- 
ingly interesting, the whole company, young and old, 
adjourned to the lawn, where the visitors and elder 



208 A Walk from 

people of the place were served with tea and coffee 
under the tent. 

Then came "The Children's Hour." They were 
called in from their games and romping on the lawn, 
and formed into a circle of about 50 feet diameter. 
And here and now commenced an entertainment which 
would make a more interesting picture than the old 
Apsley House Dinner. The good deacon of the 
county, with several assistants, entered this charmed 
circle of boys and girls, all with eyes dilated and eager 
with expectation, and overlooked by a circular wall of 
elder people radiant with the spirit of the moment. 
The host, in his white hat and grey beard, led the way 
with a basket on his arm filled with little cakes, called 
with us ginger-nuts. He was followed by a file of 
other men with baskets of nuts, apples, &c. It was 
a most hilarious scene, exhiliarating to all the senses 
to look upon, either for young or old. He walked 
around the ring with a grand, Cromwellean step, sow- 
ing a pattering rain of the little cakes on the clean- 
shaven lawn, as a farmer would sow wheat in his field, 
broadcast, in liberal handfuls. Then followed in their 
order the nut-sowers, apple-sowers, and the sowers of 
other goodies. When the baskets were emptied, the 
circular ppace enclosed was well covered with as tempt- 
ing a spread of dainties as ever fascinated the eyes of a 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 209 

crowd of little people. For a whole minute, longer 
than a full hour of ordinary schoolboy enjoyments, they 
had to stand facing that sight, involuntarily attitu- 
dinising for the plunge. At the end of that long 
minute, the signal sounded, and, in an instant, there 
was a scene in the ring that would have made the 
soberest octogenarian shake his sides with the laughter 
of his youth. The encircling multitude of youngsters 
darted upon the thickly scattered delicacies like a flock 
of birds upon a field of grain, with patter, twitter and 
nutter, and a tremor and treble of little short laughs ; 
small, eager hands trying in vain to shut fast upon a 
large apple and several ginger-nuts at one grasp ; slip- 
pings and trippings, tousling of tresses and crushing 
of dresses ; boys and girls higgledy-piggledy ; caps and 
bonnets piggledy-higgledy ; little red-faced Alexanders 
looking half sad, because they had filled their small 
pocket-worlds and both hands with apples and nuts, 
and had no room nor holding for more ; little girls, 
with broken bonnet-strings, and long, sunny hair 
dancing over their eyes, stretching their short fingers 
to grasp another goodie, all this, with the merry 
excitement of fathers and mothers, elder brothers and 
sisters, and other spectators, made it a scene of 
youthful life and delight which would test the genius 
of the best painter of the age to delineate. And 



2io A Walk from 

Sir Roger Coverley Cromwell, the author of all this 
entertainment, would make a capital figure in the 
group, taken just as he looked at that moment, with 
his face illuminated with the upshooting joy of his 
heart, like the clear, frosty sky of winter with the 
glow and the flush of the Northern Lights. 

This good Miller of Houghton, having added stone 
to stone until his mills can grind all the wheat the 
largest county can grow, has recently handed over to 
his sons the great business he had built up to such 
magnitude, and retired, if possible, to a more active 
life of benevolence. One of his late benefactions was 
a gift of 3,000, or nearly $15,000, toward the 
erection of an Independent Chapel in St. Ives. 

At Huntingdon, I took tea and spent a pleasant 
hour with the principal of a select school, kept in a 
large, dignified and comfortable mansion, once occu- 
pied by the poet Cowper. In the yard behind the 
house there is a wide-spreading and prolific pear-tree 
planted by his hands. This, too, was one of the 
thousands of old, stately dwellings you meet with 
here and there, which have no beginning nor end that 
you can get at. Cowper lived and wrote in this, for 
instance ; but who lived in it a century before he was 
born ? Who built it ? Which of the Two Eoses did 
he mount on his arms? Or did he live and build 



London to John O 'Groat's. 211 

later, and dine his townsman, the great Oliver, or was 
he loyal to the last to Charles the First ? These are 
questions that come up, on going over such a build- 
ing, but no one can answer them, and you are left 
to the wisdom of limping legends on the subject. 
The present occupant has an antiquarian penchant; so, 
a short time after he took possession of the house, he 
began to make explorations in the walls and wains- 
cottings, as men of the same mind have done at 
Nineveh and Pompeii. Having penetrated a thick 
surface of white lava, or a layer of lime, put on with a 
brush "in an earlier age than ours," he came upon a 
gorgeous wall of tapestry, with inwoven figures and 
histories of great men and women, quite as large as 
life, and all of very florid complexion and luxurious 
costumes. He has already exhumed a great many 
square yards of this picturesque fabric, wrought in 
by-gone ages, and is continuing the work with all 
the zest and success of a fortunate archaeologist. Now 
it is altogether probable, that Cowper, as he sat in 
one of those rooms writing at his beautiful rhymes, 
had not the slightest idea that he was surrounded by 
such a crowd of kings, queens, and other great person- 
ages, barely concealed behind a thin cloud of white- 
wash. 

It may possibly be true, that a few beautiful, fair- 
p 2 



212 A Walk from 

haired heretics in love or religion have been stone - 
masoned up alive in the walls of abbeys or convents. 
Sir Walter Scott leaned to that belief, and perhaps 
had credible history for it. But if the trowel has 
slain its thousands, the whitewash swab has slain its 
ten thousands of innocents. Think of the furlongs 
of richly-wrought tapestry, full of sacred and profane 
history, and the furlongs of curiously-carved panels, 
wainscotting, and cornice that floppy, sloppy, vandal 
brush of pigs' bristles and pail of diluted lime have 
eclipsed and obliterated forever, and not a retributive 
drop of the villainous mixture has fallen into the 
perpetrator's eye to " make his foul intent seem 
horrible ! " Think of Christian kings of glorious 
memory, even Defenders of the Faith, with their fair 
queens, princes of the blood, and knights, noble and 
brave, all, in one still St. Bartholomew night of that 
soft, thin, white flood, buried from the sight of the 
living as completely as the Roman sentinel at his 
post by the red gulf-stream of Vesuvius ! Still, we 
must not be too hard on these seemingly barbarous 
transactions. "Not in anger, not in wrath," nor in 
foolish fancy, was that dripping brush always lifted 
upon these works of art. Many a person of cultivated 
taste saw a time when he could say, almost with 
Sancho Panza, " blessings on the man who invented 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 



21 



whitewash ! It covers a tapestry, a carving, or a 
sculpture all over like a blanket;" like that one spoken 
of in Macbeth. England is just beginning to learn 
what treasures of art in old mansions, churches and 
cathedrals were saved to the present age by a timely 
application of that cheap and healthy fluid. For 
there was a time when stern men of iron will arose, 
who had no fear of Grothic architecture, French 
tapestry, or Italian sculpture before their eyes ; who 
treated things that had awed or dazzled the world as 
" baubles " of vanity, to be put away, as King Josiah 
put away from his realm the graven images of his pre- 
decessors. And these men thought they were doing 
good service to religion by pushing their bayonets 
at the most delicate works of the needle, pencil and 
chisel ; ripping and slitting the most elaborately 
wrought tapestry, stabbing off the fine leaf and 
vine-work from carved cornices and wainscotting, and 
mutilating the marble lace-work of the sculptor in 
the old cathedrals. The only way to save these 
choice things was to make them suddenly take the 
white veil from the whitewasher's brush. Thousands 
of them were thus preserved, and they are now being 
brought forth to the light again, after having been 
shut away from the eye of man for several centuries. 
The school-house is still standing in Huntingdon, 



214 -A Walk from 

in good condition and busy occupation, in which 
Oliver Cromwell stormed the English alphabet and 
carried the first parallel of monosyllables at the point 
of the pen. The very form or bench of oak from 
which he mounted the breach is still occupied by 
boys of the same size and age, with the same number 
of inches between their feet and the floor which 
separated it from his. Had the photographic art 
been discovered in his day, we might have had his 
face and form as he looked when seated as a rosy- 
faced, light-haired boy in the rank and file of the 
youngsters gathered within those walls. What an 
overwhelming revelation it would have been to his 
young, honest and merry mind, if some seer, like 
him who told Hazael his future, could have given 
him a sudden glimpse of what he was to be and do 
in his middle manhood ! 

After tea, I continued my walk westward to a 
small, quiet, comfortable village, about five miles 
from Huntingdon, where I became the guest of " The 
Old Mermaid," who extended her amphibious hospi- 
talities to all strangers wishing bed and board for 
the night. Both I received readily and greatly 
enjoyed under her roof, especially the former. Never 
did I occupy a bed so fringed with the fanciful 
artistries of dreamland. It was close up under the 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 215 

thatched roof, and it was the most easy and natural 
thing in the world for the fancies of the midnight 
hour to turn that thatching into hair, and to cheat 
my willing mind with the delusion that I was sleep- 
ing with the long, soft tresses of Her Submarine 
Ladyship wound around my head. It was a delight- 
ful vagary of the imagination, which the morning 
light, looking in through the little checker-work 
window, gently dispelled. 

The next day I bent my course in a northwesterly 
direction, and passed through a very fertile and 
beautiful section. The scenery was truly delightful ; 
not grand nor splendid, but replete with quiet 
pictures that please the eye and touch the heart 
with a sense of gladness. The soft mosaic work of 
the gently rounded hills, or figures wrought in wheat, 
barley, oats, beans, turnips, and meadow and pasture 
land, and grouped into landscapes in endless alterna- 
tion of lights and shades, and all this happy little 
world now veiled by the low, summer clouds, now 
flooded by a sunburst between them all these lovely 
and changing sceneries made my walk like one 
through a continuous gallery of paintings. 

Harvesting had commenced in real earnest, and 
the wheatfields were full of reapers, some wielding 
the sickle, others the scythe. When I saw men and 



216 A Walk from 

women bending almost double to cut their sheaves 
close to the ground, I longed to walk through a 
barley-field with one of our American cradles, and 
show them how we do that sort of thing. As yet 
I have seen no reaping machines in operation, and 
I doubt if they will ever come into such extensive 
use here as with us, owing to the abundance of 
cheap labor in this country. I saw on this day's 
walk the heaviest crop of wheat that I have noticed 
since I left London. It must have averaged sixty 
bushels to the acre for the whole field. 

Late in the afternoon it began to rain ; and I was 
glad to find shelter and entertainment at a comfort- 
able village inn, under the patronage of " The Green 
Man," perhaps a brother or near relative of Mermadam 
my hostess that entertained me the preceding night. 
It was a unique old building, or rather a concrete of 
a great variety of buildings devoted to a remarkable 
diversity of purposes, including brewing, farming and 
other occupations. The large, low, dark kitchen was 
flanked by one of the old-fashioned fire-places, with 
space for a large family between the jambs, and the 
hollow of the chimney ample enough to show one of 
the smaller constellations at the top of it in a clear 
night. A seat on the brick or stone floor before one 
of these kitchen fire-places is to me the focus of the 



London to John O Groat's. 217 

home comforts of the house, and I always make for 
it mechanically. As the darkness drew on, several 
agricultural laborers drifted in, one after the other, 
until the broad, deep pavement of the hearth was lined 
by a row of them, quite fresh from their work. They 
were quiet, sober-looking men, and they spoke with 
subdued voices, without animation or excitement, as 
if the fatigue of the day and the general battle of 
life had softened them to a serious, pensive mood 
and movement. As they sat drying their jackets 
around the fire, passing successive mugs of the land- 
lord's ale from one to the other, they grew more and 
more conversational ; and, as I put in a question here 
and there, they gave me an insight into the general 
condition, aspects and prospects of their class which 
I had not obtained before. They were quite free 
to answer any questions relating to their domestic 
economy, their earnings, spendings, food, drink, cloth- 
ing, housing and fuel, also in reference to their edu- 
cational and religious privileges and habits. 

It was now the first week of harvest ; and harvest 
in England, in any one locality, covers the space of 
a full month, in ordinary weather. Then, as the 
season varies remarkably, so that one county is fre- 
quently a week earlier in harvesting than that adjoining 
it on the north, the work for the sickle is often pro- 



2 1 8 A Walk from 

longed from the middle of July to the middle of Sep- 
tember. This is the period of great expectation as well 
as toil for the agricultural laborers. Every man, woman, 
and boy of them all is put under the stimulus of extra 
earnings through these important weeks. Even the 
laborers hired by the year have a full month given 
them for harvesting forty or fifty extra shillings under 
this stimulus. Nearly all the grain in England is cut 
for a certain stipulated sum per acre ; and thousands 
of all ages, with sickle or scythe in hand, see the sun 
rise and set while they are at work in the field. In 
the field they generally breakfast, lunch and dine ; 
and when it is considered that there is daylight enough 
for labor between half-past three in the morning to 
half-past eight at night, one may easily see how many 
of the twenty-four hours they may bend to their toil. 
The price for cutting and binding wheat is from 10s. 
to 14s., or from $2 40c. to $3 36c. per acre, and 8s., or 
$1 92c. per acre for oats and barley. The men who 
cut, bind and shock by the acre generally have to find 
their own beer, and will earn from 24s. to 28s., or from 
$5 76c. to $6 72c. per week. The regular laborers 
frequently let themselves to their employers during the 
harvest month at from 20s. to 24s. per week, which 
is just about double their usual wages. In addition 
to this pay, they are often allowed two quarts of ale and 



London to John O Croat's. 219 

two quarts of small beer per day ; not the small beer 
of New England, made only of hops, ginger and 
molasses ; but a far more stimulating drink, quite 
equal to our German lager. This gallon of ale and 
beer will cost the farmer about 10d., or twenty cents. 
Where the piece-work laborer furnishes his own malt 
liquor, it must cost him on an average about an 
English shilling, or twenty-four cents, a day. 

Two or three of the men, who formed the circle 
around the fire at The Green Man's, had come to 
purchase, or pay for, a keg of beer for their harvest 
allowance. It was to me a matter of half-painful 
interest to see what vital importance they attached 
to a supply of this stimulant to see how much more 
they leaned upon its strength and comfort than upon 
food. It was not in my heart to argue the question 
with them, or to seek to dispel the hereditary and 
pleasant illusion, that beer alone, of all human drinks, 
could carry them through the long, hot hours of toil 
in harvest. Besides, I wished to get at their own 
free thoughts on the subject without putting my 
own in opposition to them, which might have slightly 
restricted their full expression. Every one of them 
held to the belief, as put beyond all doubt or question 
by the experience of the present and all past gene- 
rations, that wheat, barley and oats could not be 



220 A Walk from 

reaped and ricked without beer, and beer at the 
rate of a gallon a day per head. Each had his 
string of proofs to this conviction terminating in a 
pewter mug, just as some poor people praying to the 
Yirgin have a string of beads ending in a crucifix, 
which they tell off with honest hearts and sober 
faces. Each could make it stand to reason that a 
man could not bear the heat and burden of harvest 
labor without beer. Each had his illustration in 
the case of some poor fellow who had tried the 
experiment, out of principle or economy, and had 
failed under it. It was of no use to talk of tempe- 
rance and all that. It was all very nice for well- 
to-do people, who never blistered their hands at a 
sickle or scythe, to tell poor, laboring men, sweating 
at their hot and heavy work from sun to sun, that 
they must not drink anything but milk and water 
or cold tea and coffee, but put them in the wheat-field 
a few days, and let them try their wishy-washy drinks 
and see what would become of them. As I have 
said, I did not undertake to argue the men out of 
this belief, partly because I wished to learn from 
them all they thought and felt on the subject, and 
partly, I must confess, because I was reluctant to 
lay a hard hand upon a source of comfort which, to 
them, holds a large portion of their earthly enjoy- 



London to John O? Groat's. 221 

ments, especially when I could not replace it with a 
substitute which they would accept and which would 
yield them an equal amount of satisfaction. 

A personal habit becomes a " second nature " to 
the individual, even if he stands alone in its indul- 
gence. But when it is an almost universal habit, 
coming down from generation to generation, throwing 
its creepers and clingers around the social customs 
and industrial economies of a great nation, it is 
almost like re-creating a world to change that second 
nature thus strengthened. This change is slowly 
working its way in Great Britain slowly, but percep- 
tibly here and there thanks to the faithful and 
persevering efforts put forth by good and true men, 
to enlighten the subjects of this impoverishing and 
demoralising custom, which has ruled with such 
despotism over the laborers of the land. Little by 
little the proper balance between the Four Great 
Powers of human necessity, Food, Drink, Raiment 
and Housing, so long disturbed by this habit, is 
being restored. Still, the preponderance of Drink, 
especially among the agricultural laborers in England, 
is very striking and sad. As a whole, Beer must 
still stand before Bread even before Meat, and before 
both in many cases, in their expenditures. The man 
who sat next me, in muddy leggings, and smoking 



222 A Walk from 

ooat, was mildly-spoken, quiet and seemingly thought- 
ful. He had come for his harvest allowance of 20s. 
worth of beer. If he abstained from its use on 
Sundays, he would have a ration of about tenpence's 
worth daily. That would buy him a large loaf of 
bread, two good cuts of mutton or beef, and all the 
potatoes and other vegetables he could eat in a day. 
But he puts it all into the Jug instead of the Basket. 
Jug is the juggernaut that crushes his hard earnings in 
the dust, or, without the figure, distils them into 
drink. Jug swallows up the first fruits of his 
industry, and leaves Basket to glean among the 
sharpest thorns of his poverty. Jug is capricious 
as well as capacious. It clamors for quality as well 
as quantity ; it is greedy of foaming and beaded 
liquors. Basket does well if it can bring to the 
reaper the food of well-kept dogs. In visiting 
different farms, I have noticed men and women at 
their luncheons and dinners in the field. A hot 
mutton chop, or a cut of roast-beef, and a hot potatoe, 
seem to be a luxury they never think of in the 
hardest toil of harvest. Both the meals I have 
mentioned consist, so far as I have seen, of only two 
articles of food, bread and bacon, or bread and cheese. 
And this bacon is never warm, but laid upon a slice 
of bread in a thin, cold layer, instead of butter, both 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 223 

being cut down through with a jack-knife into morsels 
when eaten. 

Such is a habit that devours a lion's share of the 
English laborer's earnings, and leaves Food, Raiment 
and Housing to shift for themselves. If he works by 
the piece and finds his own beer, it costs him more 
than he pays for house rent, or for bread, or meat, or 
for clothes for himself and family. If his employer 
furnishes it or pays him commutation money, it amounts 
for all his men to a tax of half-a-crown to the acre for 



his whole farm. There is no earthly reason why agri- 
cultural laborers in this country should spend more in 
drink than those of New England. I am confident 
that if a census were taken of all the " hired men " of 
our six states, and a fair average struck, the daily 
expenditure for drinks would not exceed 2d., or 4 cents 
per head, while their average wages would amount to 
4s., or 96 cents, per day through the year. Yet our 
summers are far hotter and dryer than in England, our 
labor equally hard, and there is really more natural 
occasion for drinks in our harvest-fields than here. It 
would require a severe apprenticeship for our men to 
acquire a taste for sharp ale or strong beer as a beverage 
under our July sun. A pail or jug of sweetened water, 
perhaps with a few drops of cider to the pint, to sour it 
slightly, and a spoonful of ginger stirred in, is our 



224 A Walk from 

substitute for malt liquor. Sometimes beer made of 
nothing but hops, water, and a little molasses, is 
brought into the field, and makes even an exhiliarating 
drink, without any alcoholic effect. Cold coffee, diluted 
with water, and re-sweetened, is a healthful and grate- 
ful luxury to our farm laborers. 

It would be a blessed thing for all the outdoor and 
indoor laborers in this country, if the broad chasm 
between the strong beer of Old England and the small 
beer of New England could be bridged, and they be 
carried across to the shore of a better habit. The farm 
hands here need a good deal of gentle leading and 
suggestion in this matter. If some humane and in- 
genious man would get up a new, cheap, cold drink, 
which should be nutritious, palatable and exhiliarating, 
without any inebriating property, it would be a boon 
of immeasurable value. Malt liquors are made in such 
rivers here, or rather in such lakes with river outlets ; 
there is such a system for their distribution and circu- 
lation through every town, village, and hamlet; and 
they are so temptingly and conveniently kegged, 
bottled and jugged, and so handy to be carried out 
into the field, that the habit of drinking them is almost 
forced upon the poor man's lips. If a cheaper drink, 
refreshing and strengthening, could be made equally 
convenient and attractive, it would greatly help to 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 225 

break this hereditary thraldom to the Beer-Barrel. 
Another powerful auxiliary to this good work might 
be contributed in the form of a simple contrivance, 
which any man of mechanical genius and a kind heart 
might elaborate. In this go-ahead age, scores of things 
are made portable that once were fast-anchored solidi- 
ties. We have portable houses, portable beds, portable 
stoves and cooking ranges, as well as portable steam- 
engines. Now, if some benevolent and ingenious 
man would get up a little portable affair, at the cost 
of two or three shillings, especially, for agricultural 
laborers in this country, which they could carry with 
one hand into the field, and by which they could make 
and keep hot a pot of coffee, cocoa, chocolate, broth or 
porridge, and also bake a piece of meat and a few 
potatoes, it would be a real benefaction to thousands, 
and help them up to the high road of a better 
condition. 

What is the best condition to which the agricultural 
laborers in Great Britain may ever expect to attain, 
or to which they may be raised by that benevolent 
effort now put forth for their elevation ? They may 
all be taught to read and write and do a little in the 
first three rules of arithmetic. That will raise them 
to a new status and condition. Education of the 
masses has become such a vigorous idea with the 



226 A Walk from 

Grovernment and people of England ; so much is doing 
to make the children of the manufacturing districts 
pass through the school-room into the factory, carry- 
ing with them the ability and taste for reading ; 
ragged-schools, working-men's clubs, and institutions 
for all kinds of cheap learning and gratuitous teaching 
are multiplying so rapidly; the press is turning out 
such a world of literature for the homes of the poor, 
and the English Post, like a beneficent Providence, 
is distilling such a morning dew of manuscript and 
printed thoughts over the whole length and breadth 
of the country, and all these streams of elevating 
influence are now so tending towards the agricultural 
laborers, that there is good reason to believe the next 
generation, of them will stand head and shoulders 
above any preceding one in the stature of intelligence 
and self-respect. This in itself will give them a new 
status in society, as beneficial to their employers as 
to themselves. It will increase their mutual respect, 
and create a better footing for their relationships. 

But the first improvement demanded in their con- 
dition, and the most pressingly urgent, is a more 
comfortable, decent and healthy housing. Until this 
is effected, all other efforts to raise them mentally and 
morally must fail of their expected result. The 
London Times, and other metropolitan, and many local, 



London to John O Groat's. 227 

journals publish almost daily distressing accounts of 
the miserable tenements occupied by the men and 
women whose labor makes England the garden of 
fertility and beauty that it is. Editors are making 
the subject the theme of able and stirring articles, 
and some of the most eloquent members of Parliament 
are speaking of it with great power. It is not only 
generous but just to take the language in which the 
writers and orators of a country denounce the evils 
existing in it cum grano sails, or with considerable 
allowance for exaggeration. Their statements and 
denunciations should not be used against their country 
as a reproach by the people of another, because they 
prove an earnest desire and effort to reform abuses 
which grew up in an unenlightened past. As a speci- 
men of the language which is sometimes held on this 
subject, I subjoin the following paragraph from the 
Saturday Review, perhaps the most cynical or unsenti- 
mental journal in England : 

" There is a wailing for the dirt and vice and misery 
which must prevail in houses where seven or eight 
persons, of both sexes and all ages, are penned up 
together for the night in the one rickety, foul, vermin- 
hunted bed-room. The picture of agricultural life 
unrolls itself before us as it is painted by those who 
know it best. We see the dull, clouded mind, the 
a 2 



228 A Walk from 

bovine gaze, the brutality and recklessness, and the 
simple audacity, and the confessed hatred of his 
betters, which mark the English peasant, unless 
some happy fortune has saved him from the general 
lot, and persuaded him that life has something besides 
beer that the poor man may have and may relish." 

Now this is a sad picture truly. The pen is sharp 
and cuts like a knife, but it is the surgeon's knife, 
not the poisoned barb of a foreigner's taunt. This is 
the hopeful and promising aspect of these delineations 
and denunciations of the laboring man's condition. 
That low, damp, ill-ventilated, contracted room in 
which he pens his family at night, was, quite likely, 
constructed in the days of Grood Queen Bess, or when 
" Greorge the Third was King," at the latest. And 
houses were built for good, substantial farmers in 
those days which they would hardly house their 
horses in noAv. There are hundreds of mechanics 
and day-laborers in Edinburgh who pen their fami- 
lies nightly in 'apartments once owned and occupied 
by Scotch dukes and earls, but which a journeyman 
shoe-maker of New England would be loth to live 
in rent free. Even the favorite room of Queen 
Mary, in Holyrood Palace, in which she was wont 
to tea and talk with Bizzio, would be too small and 
dim for the shop-parlor of a small London trades- 



London to John O' Groat's. 229 

man of the present day. Thus, after all, the low- 
jointed, low-floored, small- windowed, ill- ventilated cot- 
tages now occupied by the agricultural laborers of 
England were proportionately as good as the houses 
built at the same period for the farmers of the coun- 
try, many of which are occupied by farmers now, and 
the like of which never could be erected again on this 
island. Indeed, one wonders at finding so many of 
these old farm houses still inhabited by well-to-do 
people, who could well afford to live in better buildings. 
This, then, is a hopeful sign, and both pledge and 
proof of progress that the very cottages of laboring 
men in England that once figured so poetically in 
the histories and pictures of rural life, are now being 
turned inside out to the scrutiny of a more en- 
lightened and benevolent age, revealing conditions 
that stir up the whole community to painful sensi- 
bility and to vigorous efforts to improve them. These 
cottages were just as low, damp, small and dirty 
thirty years ago as they are now, and the families 
" penned " in them at night were doubtless as large, 
and perhaps more ignorant than those which inhabit 
them at the present time. It is not the real difference 
between the actual conditions of the two periods, but 
the difference in the dispositions and perceptions of 
the public mind, that has produced these humane 



230 A Walk from 

sensibilities and efforts for the elevation of the 
ploughers, sowers, reapers and mowers who enrich 
and beautify this favored land with their patient and 
poorly-paid labor. And there is no doubt that these 
newly-awakened sentiments and benevolent activities 
will carry the day; replacing the present tenements 
of the agricultural laborers with comfortable, well- 
built cottages, fitted for the homes of intelligent and 
virtuous families. This work has commenced in 
different sections under favorable auspices. Build- 
ings have been erected on an estate here and there 
which will be likely to serve as models for whole 
hamlets of new tenements. From what I have heard, 
I should think that Lord Overstone, of the great bank- 
ing house of the Lloyds, has produced the best models 
for cottage homes, on his estates in Northamptonshire. 
Although built after the most modern and improved 
plan, and capacious enough to accommodate a con- 
siderable family very comfortably, almost elegantly, 
the yearly rent is only 3, or less than fifteen dollars ! 
Now with a three-pound cottage, having a parlor, 
kitchen, bedroom and buttery on the lower floor, and 
an equal number of apartments on the upper; with a 
forty-rod garden to grow his vegetables, and with a 
free school for his children at easy walking distance, 
the agricultural laborer in England will be placed as far 



London to John G 1 Groat's. 231 

forward on the road of improvement as the Govern- 
ment or people, or both, can set him. The rest of the 
way upward and onward he must make by his own 
industry, virtue and economy. From this point he 
must work out his own progress and elevation. No 
Government, nor any benevolent association, nor general 
nor private benevolence, can regulate the rate of his 
wages. The labor market will determine that, just as 
the Corn Exchange does the price of wheat. But there 
is one thing he can do to raise himself in civil stature, 
moral growth and domestic comfort. He may empty 
the Jug into the Basket. He and his family may 
consume in solids what they now do in frothy fluids. 
They may exchange their scanty dinner of cold bacon 
and bread for one of roast beef and plum pudding, 
by substituting cold coffee, cocoa or pure water for 
strong beer. Or, if they are content to go on with 
their old fare of food, they may save the money they 
expended in ale for the rent of one or two acres of 
land, for a cow, or for two or three pigs, or deposit it 
weekly in the Post-Office Savings' Bank, until it shall 
amount to a sum sufficient to enable them to set up 
a little independent business of their own. 

Here, then, are three great steps indispensable for 
the elevation of the agricultural laborers of Great 
Britain to the highest level in society which they can 



232 A Walk from 

reach and maintain. Two of these the Government, 
or the landowners, or both, must take. They are 
Improved Dwellings and Free and Accessible Educa- 
tion. These the laborer cannot provide for himself 
and family. It is utterly beyond his ability to do it. 
The third, last, long step must depend entirely upon 
himself; though he may be helped on by sympathy, 
suggestion, and encouragement from those who know 
how hard a thing it is for the fixed appetites to break 
through the meshes of habit. He must make Drink 
the cheapest of human necessities. He must exchange 
Beer for Bread, for clothes, for books, or for things 
that give permanent comfort and enjoyment. When 
these three steps are accomplished, the British laborer 
will stand before his country in the best position it 
can give him. And I believe it will be a position 
wliich will make him contented and happy, and be 
satisfactory to all classes of the people. 

After all that can be done for them, the wages of 
the agricultural laborers of Great Britain cannot be 
expected to exceed, on an average, twelve shillings a 
week, or about half the price of the same labor in 
America. Their rent and clothes cost them perhaps 
less than half the sum paid by our farm hands for the 
same items of expenditure. Their food must also cost 
only about half of what our men pay, who would think 



London to John Cf Groat's. 



233 



they were poor indeed if they could not have hot 
meat breakfasts, roast or boiled beef dinners and cold 
meat suppers, with the usual sprinkling of puddings, 
pies and cakes, and tea sweetened with loaf sugar. 
Thus, after all, put the English laborer in the position 
suggested ; give him such a three-pound cottage and 
garden as Lord Overstone provides ; give his children 
free and convenient schooling; then let him exchange 
his ale for nutritious and almost costless drinks, and 
if he is still able to live for a few years on his old 
food-fare, he may work his way up to a very comfort- 
able condition with his twelve shillings a week, besides 
his beer-money. On these conditions he would be able 
almost to run neck and neck with our hired men in 
the matter of saving money " for a rainy day," or for 
raising himself to a higher position. 

We will put them side by side, after the suggested 
improvements have been realised; assuming each has 
a wife, with two children too young to earn anything 
at field work. 



American Laborer at 24s. per week. 
Weekly Expense for S c. s. d. 

Food 3 50 = 14 7 

For Rent and Taxes 67 29 
For Fuel, average of 

the year 048,, 20 

For Clothes 1 00 42 

Total Weekly Ex- - 

penses So 65 = 23 6 



English do. at 12s. 

Weekly Expense s. d. $ c. 

for Food 7 3 = 1 75 

For Rent 12 28 

Fuel 1 24 

Clothes 2 1 50 

Total Weekly Ex- 



penses 110=277 



234 A Walk from 

I think the American reader, who is personally 
acquainted with the habits and domestic economy of 
our farm laborers, will regard this estimate of their 
expenditures as quite moderate. I have assumed, in 
both cases, that no time is lost in the week on account 
of sickness, or of weather, or lack of employment ; and 
all the incidental expenses I have included in the four 
general items given. It must also be conceded that 
our farm hands do not average more than 24 English 
shillings, or $5 76c., per week, through all the seasons 
of the year. The amount of expenditure allowed in 
the foregoing estimate enables them to support them- 
selves and their families comfortably, if they are tem- 
perate and industrious ; to clothe and educate their 
children ; to make bright and pleasant homes, with well- 
spread tables, and to have respectable seats in church 
on the sabbath. On the other hand, we have assigned 
to the English agricultural laborer what he would 
regard a proportionately comfortable allowance for the 
wants of a week. We may not have divided it cor- 
rectly, but the total of the items is as great as he would 
expect to expend on the current necessities of seven 
days. I doubt if one in a thousand of the farm 
laborers of Great Britain lays out more than the sum 
we have allotted for one week's food, rent, and fuel 
and clothes. We then reach this result of the balance- 



London to John O* Groat's. 235 

sheet of the two men. Their weekly savings hardly 
differ by a penny ; each amounting to about 5d., or 
10 cents. At first sight, it might seem, from this 
result, that the English farm laborer earns half as 
much, lives half as well, and saves as much as the 
American. But he has a resource for increasing 
his weekly savings which his American competitor 
would work his fingers to the bone before he would 
employ. His wife is able and willing to go with him 
into the field and earn from three to five shillings a 
week. Then, if he commutes with his employer, he 
will receive from him 4d. daily, or 2s. a week, for beer- 
money. This, if he and his wife are willing to live, as 
such families do now, on bread, bacon and cheese, and 
such vegetables as they can grow in their garden, they 
may lay up, from their joint earnings, a dollar, or four 
shillings a week, provided a sufficiently stimulating 
object be set before them. To me it is surprising that 
they sustain so much human life on such small means. 
They are often reproached for their want of wise 
economy ; but never was more keen ingenuity, more 
close balancing of pennies against provisions than a 
great many of them practice and teach. Let the 
most astute or utilitarian of social economists try the 
experiment of housing, feeding and clothing himself, 
wife and six children too young to earn anything, on 



236 A Walk from 

ten or twelve shillings a week, and he will learn some- 
thing that his philosophy never dreamed of. 

Even while bending under the weight of the beer- 
barrel, thousands of agricultural laborers in England 
have accomplished wonders by their indefatigable in- 
dustry, integrity and economy. Put a future before 
them with a sun in it- some object they may reach 
that is worth a life's effort, and as large a proportion 
of them will work for it as you will find in any other 
country. A servant girl told me recently that her 
father was a Devonshire laborer, who worked the best 
years of his life for seven shillings a week, and her 
mother for three, when they had half a dozen children 
to feed and clothe, Yet, by that unflagging industry 
and ingenious economy with which thousands wrestle 
with the necessities of such a life and throw them 
too, they put saving to saving, until they were able to 
rent an acre of orcharding, a large garden for vege- 
tables, then buy a donkey and cart, then a pony and 
cart, and load and drive them both to market with 
their own and their neighbors' produce, starting from 
home at two in the morning. In a few years they 
were able to open a little grocery and provision shop, 
and are now taking their rank among the tradespeople 
of the village. But if the farm servants of England 
could only be induced to give up beer and lay by the 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 237 

money paid them as a substitute, it alone would raise 
them to a new condition of comfort, even independence. 
At 4d. a day commutation money, they would have 
each 5 at the end of the year. That would pay the 
rent of two acres of land here ; or it would buy five on 
the Illinois Central Railroad. Three years' beer-money 
would pay for those rich prairie acres, his fare by sea 
and land to them, and leave him 3 in his pocket to 
begin their cultivation with. Three years' of this 
saving would make almost a new man of him at home, 
in the way of self-respect, comfort and progress. It 
would be " a nest-egg," to which hope, habit and a 
strengthening ambition would add others of larger size 
and value from year to year. 

Give, then, the British agricultural laborer good, 
healthy Housing, Free Schooling, and let him empty 
the Jug into the Basket, and he may work his way up 
to a very comfortable condition at home. But if he 
should prefer to go to Australia or America, where 
land is cheap and labor dear, in a few years he may 
save enough to take him to either continent, with suffi- 
cient left in his pocket to begin life in a new world. 






8 A Walk from 



CHAPTEE XII. 

FARM GAME HALLET WHEAT OUNDLE COUNTRY BRIDGES FOTHERmG- 

HAY CASTLE QUEEN MARY'S IMPRISONMENT AND EXECUTION 

BURGHLEY HOUSE : THE PARK, AVENUES, ELMS AND OAKS 

THOUGHTS ON TREES, ENGLISH AND AMERICAN. 

HAYINGr now pursued a westerly direction until 
I was in the range of a continuous upland 
section of country, I took a northward course and 
walked on to Oundle, a goodly town in Northampton- 
shire, as unique as its name. On the way, in crossing 
over to another turnpike road, I passed through a 
large tract of land in a very deshabille condition, rough, 
boggy and bushy. I soon found that it was a game- 
growing estate, and very productive of all sorts of 
birds and small quadrupeds. The fields I crossed 
showed a promising crop of hares and rabbits ; and 
doubtless there were more partridges on that square 
mile than in the whole state of Connecticut. This is 
a characteristic of the country which will strike an 
American, at his first visit, with wonder. He will 
see hares and rabbits bobbing about on common 
farms, and partridges in broods, like separate flocks of 
hens and chickens in fields of grain, within a stone's 



London to John O'Groafs. 239 

throw of the farmer's house. I doubt if any county 
in New England produces so many in a year as the 
holding of Mr. Samuel Jonas already described. Rab- 
bits have been put out of the pale of protection some- 
what recently, I believe, and branded with the bad 
name of vermin; so that the tenant farmer may kill 
them on his occupation without leave or license from 
the landlord. It may indicate their number to state 
the fact, that one hundred and twenty-five head of 
them were killed in one day's shooting on Mr. Jonas's 
estate by his sons and some of their friends. 

It was market day in Oundle, and I had the plea- 
sure of sitting down to dinner with a large company of 
farmers, and cattle and corndealers. They were intel- 
ligent, substantial-looking men, with no occupational 
peculiarity of dress or language to distinguish them 
from ordinary middle-class gentlemen engaged in trade 
or manufacture. Indeed, the old-fashioned English 
farmer, of the great, round, purply-red face, aldermanio 
stature, and costume of fifty years ago, speaking, the 
dialect of his county with such inimitable accent, is 
fast going out. I have not seen one during my pre- 
sent sojourn in England. I fear he has disappeared 
altogether with the old stage-coach, and that we have 
not pictures enough of him left to give the rising 
generation any correct notion of what he was, and how 



240 A Walk from 

he looked. It may be a proper and utilitarian change, 
but one can hardly notice without regret what trans- 
formations the railway regime has wrought in customs 
and habits which once individualised a country and 
people. A kind of French centralisation in the world 
of fashion has been established, which has overridden 
and obliterated all the dress-boundaries of civilised 
nations. All the upper and middle classes of Chris- 
tendom centre themselves to one focus of taste and 
merge into one plastic commonwealth, to be shaped 
and moulded virtually by a common tailor. Their coats, 
vests, pantaloons, boots and shoes are made substan- 
tially after the same pattern. For a while, hats stood 
out with some show of pluck and patriotism, and 
made a stand for national individuality, but it was 
in vain. They, too, succumbed to the inexorable law 
of Uniformity. That law was liberal in one respect. 
It did not insist that the stove-pipe form should rule 
inflexibly. It admitted several variations, including 
wide-awakes, pliable felts, and that little, squat, lack- 
a-daisical, round-crowned, narrow-brimmed thing worn 
by the Prince of Wales in the photographs taken 
of him and the Princess at Sandringham. But this 
has come to be the rule : that hats shall no longer 
represent distinct nationalities ; that they shall be 
interchangeable in all civilised communities ; in a 



London to John O 'Groat's. 241 

word, that neither Englishman, American, French 
nor German shall be known by his hat, whatever be 
the form or material of its body or brim. If there 
were a southern county in England where the mer- 
cury stood at 100 degrees in the shade for two or three 
summer months, the upper classes in it would don, 
without any hesitation, the wide, flappy broadbrims 
of California, and still be in the fashion, that is, 
variety in uniformity. The peasantry, or the lowest 
laboring classes of European countries, are now, and 
will remain perhaps for a century to come, the only 
conservators of the distinctive national costumes of 
bygone generations. 

During the conversation at the table, a farmer 
exhibited a head of the Hallett wheat, which he had 
grown on his land. I never saw anything to equal it, 
in any country in which I have travelled. It was 
nearly six inches in length, and seeded large and 
plump from top to bottom. This is a variety pro- 
duced by Mr. Hallett, of Brighton, and is creating no 
little interest among English grain-growers. Lord 
Burghley, who had tested its properties, thus de- 
scribes it, in a speech before the Northamptonshire 
Agricultural Society last summer : 

" At the Battersea Show last year, my attention 
was called to some enormous ears of wheat, which I 



242 A Walk from 

thought could not have been grown in England. For, 
although the British farmer can grow corn with any 
one, I had never seen such wheat here, and thought 
it must be foreign wheat. I went to the person who 
was threshing some out, and having been informed 
that it was sown only with one seed in a hole, I pro- 
cured some of Mr. Hallett, of Brighton ; and, being 
anxious to try the system, I planted it according to 
Mr. Hallett's directions one grain in a hole, the holes 
nine and a half inches apart, with six inches between 
the rows. To satisfy myself on the subject, I also 
planted some according to Stephen's instructions, who 
said three grains in a hole would produce the most 
profitable return. I also planted some two grains in a 
hole. I sowed the grain at the end of last September, 
on bad land, over an old quarry, and except some stiff 
clay at the bottom of it, there was nothing in it good 
for wheat. The other day I counted the stalks of all 
three. On Mr. Stephen's plan of three grains in a 
hole, there were eighteen stalks ; with two grains in a 
hole, there was about the same number ; but with one 
seed in a hole, the lowest number of stalks was sixteen, 
and the highest twenty-two. I planted only about half 
an acre as a trial, and when I left home a few days 
since, it looked as much like eight quarters (sixty-four 
bushels) to the acre as any I have seen. The ears 



London to John O* Groat's, 243 

are something enormous. I would certainly recom- 
mend every farmer to make his own experiments, for if 
it succeeds, it will prove a great economy of seed ; and 
drills to distribute it fairly are to be had." 

Truly one of Hallett's wheat ears might displace the 
old cornucopia in that picture of happy abundance so 
familiar to old and young. Here are twenty ears from 
one seed, containing probably a thousand grains. The 
increase of a thousand-fold, or half that ratio, is pro- 
digious, having nothing to equal it in the vegetable 
world that we know of. If one bushel of seed wheat 
could be so distributed by a drill as to produce 500 or 
250 bushels at the harvest, certainly the staff of life 
would be greatly cheapened to the millions who lean 
upon it alone for subsistence. 

From Oundle I walked the next day to Stamford, a 
good, solid, old English town, sitting on the corners of 
three counties, and on three layers of history, Saxon, 
Dane and Norman. The first object of interest was a 
stone bridge over the Nen at Oundle. It is a grand 
structure to span such a little river. It must have 
cost three times as much as "The Great Bridge" 
over the Connecticut at Hartford ; and yet the stream 
it crosses is a mere rivulet compared with our New 
England river. " The bridge with wooden piers " 
is a fabric of fancy to most English people. They 
u :_> 



244- ^ Walk from 

have read of such a thing in Longfellow's poems, 
but hardly realise that it exists still in civilised 
countries. Here bridges are works of art as well as 
of utility, and rank next to the grand old cathedrals 
and parish churches for solidity and symmetry. Their 
stone arches are frequently turned with a grace as 
fine as any in St. Paul's, and their balustrades and 
hutments often approach the domain of sculpture. 

Crossing the Nen, I followed it for several miles 
in a northerly direction. I soon came to a rather 
low, level section of the road, and noticed stones placed 
at the side of it, at narrow intervals, for a long distance 
to the very foot of a village situated on a rising ground. 
These stones were evidently taken from some ancient 
edifice, for many of them bore the marks of the old 
cathedral or castle chisel. They were the foot-tracks 
of a ruined monument of dark and painful history. 
More than this might be said of them. They were the 
blood-drops of a monstrosity chased from its den and 
hunted down by the people, that shuddered with horror 
at its sanguinary record of violence and wrong. As I 
approached the quiet village, whose pleasant-faced 
houses, great and small, looked like a congregation of 
old and young sitting reverently around the parish 
church and listening to the preaching of the belfry, I 
saw where these stones came from. There, on that 



London to John O* Groat's. 245 

green, ridgy slope, where the lambs lay in the sun by 
the river, these stones, and a million more scattered 
hither and thither, once stood in walls high, hideous 
and wrathful, for half a dozen centuries and more. If 
the breathings of human woe, if the midnight misery 
of wretched, broken hearts, could have penetrated these 
stones, one might almost fancy that they would have 
sweat with human histories in the ditch where they 
lay, and discolored the puddles they bridged with the 
bitter distilment of grief centuries old. On that gentle 
rising from the little Xen stood Fotheringay Castle. 
That central depression among the softl}*-carpeted 
ridges marks the site of the donjon huge and horrid, 
where many a knight and lady of noble blood was 
pinioned or penned in darkness and hopeless duress 
centuries before the unfortunate Mary was born. There 
nearly half the sad years of her young life and beauty 
were prisoned. There she pined in the sickness of hope 
deferred, in the corroding anguish of dread uncertainty, 
for a space as wide as that between the baptismal font 
and presentation at Elizabeth's court. There she laid 
her white neck upon the block. There fell the broad 
axe of Elizabeth's envy, fear and hate. There fell the 
fair-haired head that once gilded a crown and wore all 
the glory of regal courts still beautiful in the setting 
light of farewell thoughts. 



246 A Walk from 

-It may be truly said of Fotheringay Castle, that 
not one stone is left upon another to mark its founda- 
tions. Not Fleet-street Prison, nor the Bastile itself, 
went out under a heavier weight of popular odium. 
Although public sentiment, as well as the personal 
taste and interest of their proprietors, has favored the 
preservation of the ruins of old castles and abbeys in 
Grreat Britain, Fotheringay bore, branded deep in its 
forehead, the mark of Cain, and every man's hand, of 
the last generation, seemed to have been turned against 
it. It has not only been demolished, but the debris 
have been scattered far and wide, and devoted to uses 
which they scarcely honor. You will see the well- 
faced stones for miles around, in garden walls, pave- 
ments, cottage hearths and chimneys, in stables and 
cow-houses. In Oundle, the principal hotel, a large 
castellated building, shows its whole front built of 
them. 

The great lion of Stamford is the Burghley House, 
the palace of the Marquis of Exeter. It may be 
called so without exaggeration of its magnificence 
as a building or of the extent and grandeur of its 
surroundings. The edifice itself would cut up into 
nearly half a dozen "White Houses," such as we 
install our American Presidents in at Washington. 
Certainly, in any point of view, it is large and 






London to John C? Groat's. 247 

splendid enough for the res dmce of an emperor and 
his suite. Its towers, turrets and spires present a 
picturesque grove of architecture of different ages, 
and its windows, it is said, equal in number all the 
days of the year. It was not open to the public 
the day I was in Stamford, so I could only walk 
around it and estimate its interior by its external 
grandeur. 

But there was an outside world of architecture in 
the park of sublimer features to me than even the 
great palace itself, with all its ornate and elaborate 
sculpture. It was the architecture of the majestic elms 
and oaks that stood in long ranks and folded their 
hands, high up in the blue sky, above the finely- 
gravelled walks that radiated outward in different 
directions. They all wore the angles and arches of the 
Gothic order and the imperial belt of several centuries. 
I walked down one long avenue and counted them on 
either side. There were not sixty on both ; yet their 
green and graceful roofage reached a full third of 
a mile. Not sixty to pillar and turn such an arch 
as that ! I sat down on a seat at the end to think 
of it. There was a morning service going on in this 
Cathedral of Nature. The dew-moistened, foliated 
arches so lofty, so interwebbed with wavy, waky 
spangles of sky, were all set to the music of the 



248 A Walk from 

anthem. " The street musicians of the heavenly 
city " were singing one of its happiest hymns out of 
their mellow throats. The long and lofty orchestra 
was full of them. Their twittering treble shook the 
leaves with its breath, as it filtered down and flooded 
the temple below. Beautiful is this building of God ! 
Beautiful and blessed are these morning singing-birds 
of His praise ! Amen ! 

But do not go yet. No ; I will not. Here is the 
only book I carry with me on this walk a Hebrew 
Psalter, stowed away in my knapsack. I will open it 
here and now, and the first words my eye lights upon 
shall be a text for a few thoughts on this scene and 
scenery. And here they are, seemingly not apposite 
to this line of reflection, yet running parallel to 
it very closely: 



The best English that can be given of these words 
we have in our translation : " Blessed is he who, pass- 
ing through the valley of Baca, maketh it a well." 
Why so ? On what ground ? If a man had settled 
down in that valley for life, there would have been no 
merit in his making it a well. It might, in that case, 
have been an act of lean-hearted selfishness on his part. 
Further than this, a man might have done it who could 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 249 

have had the heart to wall it in from the reach of thirsty 
travellers. No such man was meant in the blessing ; 
nor any man resident in or near the valley. It was he 
who was " passing through " it, and who stopped, not 
to search for a dribbling vein of water to satisfy his 
own momentary thirst, but to make a well, broad and 
deep, after the oriental circumference, at which all 
future travellers that way might drink with gladness. 
That was the man on whom the blessing rested as a 
condition, not as a wish. Look at the word, and get the 
right meaning of it. It is *ntt?N, not 7j:n3 ; it is a 
blessedness, not a benediction. It means a permanent 
reality of happiness, like that of Obededom, not a cheap 
"thank you!" or "the Lord bless you!" from here 
and there a man or woman who appreciates the bene- 
faction. 

And he deserves the same who, " passing through " 
the short years of man's life here on earth, plants trees, 
like the living, lofty columns of this long cathedral 
aisle. How unselfish and generous is this gift to 
coming generations ! How inestimable in its value 
and surpassing the worth of wealth ! surpassing the 
measurement of gold and silver ! From my seat here, 
I look up to the magnificent frontage of that baronial 
palace. I see its towers, turrets and minarets ; its 
grand and sculptured gateways and portals through 



250 A Walk from 

this long, leaf-arched aisle. Not forty, but nearer four 
hundred years, doubtless, was that pile in building. 
Architecture of the pre-Norman period, and of all 
subsequent or cognate orders, diversifies the tastes and 
shapings of the structure. Suppose the whole should 
take fire to-night and burn to the ground. The 
wealth of the owner could command genius, skill and 
labor enough to rebuild it in three years, perhaps in 
one. The Czar of all the Russias did as large a thing 
once as this last, in the reconstruction of a palace. 
Perhaps the building is insured for its positive value, 
and the insurance money would erect a better one. 
But lift an axe upon that tall centurion of these 
templed elms. Cut through the closely-grained rings 
that register each succeeding year of two centuries. 
Hear the peculiar sounding of the heart strokes, when 
the lofty, well-poised structure is balancing itself, and 
quivering through every fibre and leaf and twig on the 
few unsevered tendons that have not yet felt the keen 
edge of the woodman's steel. See the first leaning it 
cannot recover. Hear the first cracking of the central 
vertebra ; then the mournful, moaning whir in the 
air ; then the tremendous crash upon the green earth ; 
the vibration of the mighty trunk on the ground, 
like the writhing and tremor of an ox struck by 
the butcher's axe ; the rebound into the air of dis- 



London to John C? Groat's. 251 

membered branches ; the frightened flight of leaves ( 
and dust, and all the other distractions of that hour 
of death and destruction. Look upon that ruin ! The 
wealth, genius and labor that could build a hundred 
Windsor Castles, and rebuild all the cathedrals of 
England in a decade, could not rebuild in two centuries 
that elm to the life and stature you levelled to the dust 
in two hours. 

Put, then, the man who plants trees for posterity 
with him who, "passing through the valley of Baca, 
maketh it a well." Put him under the same blessing of 
his kind, for he deserves it. He gives them the richest 
earthly gift that a man can give to a coming gene- 
ration. In a practical sense, he gives them time. He 
gives them a whole century, as an extra. If they 
would pay a gold sovereign for every solid inch of oak, 
they could not hire one built to the stature of one of 
these trees in less than two centuries' time, though 
they dug about it and nursed it as the man did the 
vine in Scripture. Blessed be the builders of these 
living temples of Nature ! Blessed be the man, rich or 
poor, old or young, especially the old, who sets his 
heart and hand to this cheap but sublime and priceless 
architecture. 

Let connoisseurs who have seen Memphis, Nineveh, 
Athens, Eome, or any or all of the great cities of 



252 A Walk from 

the East, ancient or modern, come and sit here, and 
look at this lofty corridor, and mark the orders and 
graces of its architecture. What did the Ptolemies, 
their predecessors or successors in Egypt, or sovereigns 
of Chaldaic names, in Assyria, or ambitious builders 
in the ages of Pericles or Augustus, in Greece or 
Rome ? Their structures were the wonders of the 
world. Mighty men they were, whose will was law, 
whose subjects worked it out to its wildest impulse 
without a murmer or a reward. But who built this 
sixty-columned temple, and bent these lofty arches ? 
Two or three centuries ago, two men in coarse garb, 
and, it may be, in wooden shoes, came here with a 
donkey, bearing on its back a bundle of little elms, 
each of a finger's girth. They came with the rude 
pick and spade of that time ; and, in the first six 
working hours of the day, they dug thirty holes 
on this side of the aisle, and planted in them half 
the tiny trees of their bundle. Then they sat down 
at noon to their bread and cheese and, most likely, 
a mug of ale, and talked of small, home matters, just 
as if they were dibbling in a small patch of wheat or 
potatoes. Then they went to work again and planted 
the other row ; and, as the sun was going down, 
they straightened their backs, and, with hands stayed 
upon their hips, looked up and down the two lines 



London to John O' Groat's. 253 

and thought they would pass muster and please the 
master. Then they shouldered their brightened tools 
and went home to their low, dark cottages, discussing 
the prices of bread, beer and bacon, and whether the 
likes of them could manage to keep a pig and make 
a little meat in the year for themselves. 

That is the story of this most magnificent structure 
to which you look up with such admiration. Those 
two men in smock frocks, each with a pocket full of 
bread and cheese, were the Michael Angelos of this 
lofty St. Peter's. That donkey, with its worn panniers, 
was the only witness and helper of their work. And 
it was the work of a day ! They may have been 
paid two English shillings for it. The little trees 
may have cost two shillings more, if taken from 
another estate. The donkey's day was worth six- 
pence. 0, wooden-shoed Ptolemies ! what a clay's 
work was that for the world ! They thought nothing 
of it nothing more than they would of transplanting 
sixty cabbages. They most likely did the same thing 
the next day, and for most of the days of that year, 
and of the next year, until all these undulating acres 
were planted with trees of every kind that could grow 
in these latitudes. How cheap, but priceless, is the 
gift of such trees to mankind ! What a wealth, what 
a glory of them can even a poor, laboring man give to 



254 A Walk, from 

a coming generation ! They are the most generous 
crops ever sown by human hands. All others the 
sower reaps and garners into his own personal enjoy- 
ment ; but this yields its best harvest to those who 
come after him. This is a seeding for posterity. 
From this well of Baca shall they draw the cooling 
luxury of the gift when the hands that made it shall 
have gone to dust. 

And this is a good place and time to think of home 
of what we begin to hear called by her younger 
children, Old New England. Trees with us have 
passed through the two periods specified by Solomon 
" a time to plant and a time to pluck up." The 
last came first and lasted for a century. Trees were 
the natural enemies to the first settlers, and ranked 
in their estimation with the wild Indians, wolves and 
bears. It was their first, great business to cut them 
down, both great and small. Forests fell before the 
woodman's axe. It made clean work, and seldom 
spared an oak or an elm. But, at the end of a 
century, the people relented and felt their mistake. 
Then commenced " the time to plant ;" first in and 
around cities like Boston, Hartford and New Haven, 
then about villages and private homesteads. Tree- 
planting for use and ornament marks and measures 
the footsteps of our civilization. The present genera- 



A Walk from 255 

tion is reaping a full reward of this gift to the next. 
Every village now is coming to be embowered in this 
green legacy to the future ; like a young mother 
decorating a Christmas-tree for her children. Towns 
two hundred years old are taking the names of this 
diversified architecture, and they glory in the title. 
New Haven, with a college second to none on the 
American Continent, loves to be called "The Elm. 
City," before any other name. This generous and 
elevating taste is making its way from ocean to ocean, 
even marking the sites of towns and villages before 
they are built. I believe there is an act of the 
Connecticut Legislature now in force, which allows 
every farmer a certain sum of money for every tree 
he plants along the public roadside of his fields. The 
object of this is to line all the highways of the State 
with ornamental trees, so that each shall be a well- 
shaded avenue. What a gift to another generation 
that simple act is intended to make ! What a world 
of wonder and delight will our little State be to 
European travellers and tourists of the next century, 
if this measure shall be carried out ! If a few miles 
of such avenues as Burghley park and Chatsworth 
present, command such admiration, what sentiments 
would a continuous avenue of trees of equal size 
from Hartford to New Haven, inspire ! 



256 A Walk from 

While on this line of reflection, I will mention a 
case of monumental tree-planting in New England, 
not very widely known there. A small town, in the 
heart of Massachusetts, was stirred to the liveliest 
emotion, with all the rest in her borders, by the Decla- 
ration of Independence in 1776. Different communi- 
ties expressed their sense of the importance of this event 
in different ways, most of which were noisy and excited. 
But the good people of this rural parish came together, 
and, at a happy suggestion from some one of their 
number, agreed to spend the day in planting trees to 
commemorate the momentous transaction. They forth- 
with set to work, young and old, and planted first a 
double row on each side of the walk from the main 
road up " The Green " to their church door ; then a 
row on each side of the public highway passing through 
the village, for nearly a mile in each direction. There 
was a blessed day's work for them, their children and 
children's children. Every hand that wielded a spade, 
or held up a treelet until its roots were covered with 
earth, has long since lost its cunning ; but the tall, 
green monuments they erected to the memory of the 
most momentous day in American history, stand in 
unbroken ranks, the glory of the village. 

Although America will never equal England, pro- 
bably, in compact and picturesque "plantations," or 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 257 

"woods," covering hundreds of acres, all planted by 
hand, our shade-trees will outnumber hers, and surpass 
them in picturesque distribution and arrangement, when 
our popular programme is fully carried out. In two 
or three important particulars, we have a considerable 
advantage over this- country in respect to this tasteful 
embellishment. In the first place, all the farmers in 
America own the lands they cultivate, and, on an 
average, two sides of every farm front upon a public 
road. Two or three days' work suffices for planting a 
row of trees the whole length of this frontage, or the 
roadside of the farmer's fence or wall. This is being 
done more and more extensively from year to year, 
generally under the influence of public taste and custom, 
and sometimes under the stimulus of governmental com- 
pensation, as in Connecticut. Thus, in the life of the 
present generation, all our main roads and cross-roads 
may become arched and shaded avenues, giving the 
whole landscape of the country an aspect which no 
other land will present. 

Then we have another great advantage which England 
can never attain until she learns how to consume her coal 
smoke. Our wood and anthracite fires make no smoke to 
retard the growth or blacken the foliage of our trees. 
Thus we may have them in standing armies, tall and 
green, lining the streets, and overtopping the houses of 



258 A Walk from 

our largest cities ; filtering with their wholesome leafage 
the air breathed by the people. New Haven and Cleve- 
land are good specimens of beautifully-shaded towns. 

There is a third circumstance in our favor as yet, 
and of no little value. The grand old English oak 
and elm are magnificent trees, in park or hedgerow 
here. The horse-chestnut, lime, beech and ash grow 
to a size that you will not see in America. The Spanish 
chestnut, a larger and coarser tree than our American, 
reaches an enormous girth and spread. The pines, 
larches and firs abound. Then there are tree-hunters 
exploring all the continents, and bringing new species 
from Japan and other antipodean countries. But as 
yet, our maples have never been introduced ; and with- 
out these the tree-world of any country must ever lack 
a beautiful feature, both in spring, summer and autumn, 
especially in the latter. Our autumnal scenery, with- 
out the maple, would be like the play of Hamlet with 
Hamlet left out ; or like a royal court without a queen. 
Few Americans, even loudest in its praise, realise how 
much of the glory of our Indian summer landscape is 
shed upon it by this single tree. At all the Flower 
Shows I have seen in England and France, I havo 
never beheld a bouquet so glorious and beautiful as a 
little islet in a small pellucid lake in Maine, filled to 
the brim, and rounded up like a foil-blown rose, with 



London to John O* Groat's. 259 

firs, larches, white birches and soft maples, with a little 
sprinkling of the sumach. An early frost had touched 
the group with every tint of the rainbow, and there 
it stood in the ruddy glow of the Indian summer, look- 
ing at its face in the liquid mirror that smiled, still as 
glass, under its feet. 

I was much pleased to notice what honor was put 
upon one of our humble and despised trees in Burghley 
House park, as in the grounds of other noblemen. 
There was not one that spread such delicate and 
graceful tresses on the breeze as our White Birch ; 
not one that fanned it with such a gentle, musical 
flutter of silver-lined leaves ; not one that wore a 
boddice of such virgin white from head to foot, or 
that showed such long, tapering fingers against the 
sky. I was glad to see such justice done to a tree in 
the noblest parks in England which with us has been 
treated with such disdain and contumely. When I 
saw it here in such glory and honor, and thought 
how, notwithstanding its Caucasian complexion, it is 
regarded as a nuisance in our woods, meadows and 
pastures, so that any man who owns, or can borrow 
an axe, may cut it down without leave or license 
wherever he finds it when I saw this disparity in its 
status in the two Englands, I resolved to plead its 
cause in my own with new zeal and fidelity. 
s 2 



260 A Walk from 



CHAPTER XIII. 

WALK TO OAKHAM THE ENGLISH AND AMERICAN SPRING THE ENGLISH 

GENTRY A SPECIMEN OF THE CLASS MELTON MOWBRAY AND ITS 

SPECIALITIES BELVOIR VALE AND ITS BEAUTY THOUGHTS ON THE 

BLIND PAINTER. 

T.1EOM Stamford to Oakham was an afternoon walk 
_|_ which I greatly enjoyed. This was the first 
week of harvest, and the first of August. How won- 
derfully the seasons are localised and subdivided ! 
How diversified is the economy of light and heat ! 
That field of wheat, thick, tall and ripe for the sickle, 
was green and apparently growing through all the 
months of last winter. What a phenomenon would 
it have been, on the first of February last, to a New 
England farmer, suddenly transported from his snow- 
buried hills to the view of this landscape the same day ! 
Not a spire of grass or grain was alive when he left 
his own homestead. All was cold and dead. The 
very earth was frozen to the solidity and sound of 
granite. It was a relief to his eye to see the snow 
fall upon the scene and hide it two feet deep for 
months. He looks upon this, then upon the one he 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 261 

left behind. This looks full of luxuriant life, as green 
as his in May. It has three months' start of his dead 
and buried crop. He walks across it ; his shoes sink 
almost to the instep in the soft soil. He sees birds 
hopping about in it without overcoats. Surely, he says 
to himself, this is a favored land. Here it lies on the 
latitudes of Labrador, and yet its midwinter fields are 
as green as ours in the last month of spring. At this 
rate the farmers here must harvest their wheat before the 
ears of mine are formed. But he counts without Nature. 
The American sun overtakes and distances the English 
by a full month. Here is the compensation for six 
consecutive months in which the New England farmer 
must house his plough and not turn a furrow. 

Doubtless, as much light and heat brighten and 
warm one country as the other in the aggregate of 
a year. But there is a great difference in the economy 
of distribution. In England, the sun spreads its 
warmth more evenly over the four seasons of the 
year. What it witholds from Summer it gives to 
Winter, and makes it wear the face of Spring through 
its shortest and coldest days. But then Spring loses 
a little from this equalising dispensation. It is not 
the resurrection from death and the grave as it is in 
America. Children are not waiting here at the 
sepulchre of the season, as with us, watching and listening 



262 A Walk from 

for its little Bluebird angel to warble from the first 
budding tree top, "It is risen!" They do not come 
running home with happy eyes, dancing for joy, and 
shouting through the half-open door, "0, mother, 
Spring has come ! We've heard the Bluebird ! 
Hurrah ! Spring has come ! We saw the Phebce 
on the top of the saw-mill ! " Here Spring makes 
no sensation ; takes no sudden leap into the seat of 
Winter, but comes in gently, like the law of primo- 
geniture or the British Constitution. It is slow and 
decorous in its movements. It is conservative, treats 
its predecessor with much deference, and makes no 
sudden and radical changes in the face of things. It 
comes in with no Lord Mayor's Day, and blows no* 
trumpets, and bends no triumphal arches to grace its 
entree. Few new voices in the tree-tops hail its advent. 
No choirs of tree-toads fiddle in the fens. No congre- 
gation of frogs at twilight gather to the green edges 
of the unfettered pond to sing their Old Hundred, 
led by venerable Signer Cronker, in his bright, buskin 
doublet, mounted on a floating stump, and beating 
time with a bulrush. No Shad-spirits with invisi- 
ble wings, perform their undulating vespers in the 
heavens, to let the fishermen know that it is time 
to look to their nets. Even the hens of the farm- 
yard cackle with no new tone of hope and aninia- 






London to John O 'Groat's. 263 

tion at the birth of the English Spring. The fact 
is, it is a baby three months old when it is 
baptised. It is really born at Christmas instead 
of Easter, and makes no more stir in the family 
circle of the seasons than any familiar face would 
at a farmer's table. 

In a utilitarian point of view, it is certainly an 
immense advantage to all classes in this country, that 
Nature has tempered her climates to it in this kindly 
way. I will not run off upon that line of reflection 
here, but will make it the subject of a few thoughts 
somewhere this side of John 0' Groats. But what 
England gains over us in the practical, she loses in the 
poetical, in this ecpnomy of the seasons. Her Spring 
does not thrill like a sudden revelation, as with us. 
It does not come out like the new moon, hanging its 
delicate silver crescent in the western pathway of the 
setting sun, which everybody tries to see first over the 
right shoulder, for the very luck of the coincidence. 
Still, both countries should be contented and happy 
under this dispensation of Nature. The balance is 
very satisfactory, and well suited to the character and 
habits of the two peoples. The Americans are more 
radical and sensational than the English ; more given 
to sudden changes and stirring events. Sterne 
generally gets the credit of saying that pretty thought 



264 A Walk from 

first, " Providence tempers the wind to the shorn lamb." 
A French writer puts it the other way, and more practi- 
cally : " Providence tempers the wool of the lamb to the 
wind." This is far better and more natural. But 
it may be truly said that Providence tempers the seasons 
to the temperaments and customs of the two nations. 

Just before reaching Oakham, I passed a grand 
mansion, standing far back from the turnpike road, 
on a commanding eminence, flanked with extensive 
plantations. The wide avenue leading to it looked a 
full mile in length. Lawns and lakes, which mirrored 
the trees with equal distinctness, suffused the landscape 
of the park like evening smiles of Nature. It was 
indeed a goodly heritage for one man ; and he only 
mounted a plain Mr. to his name, although I learned 
that he could count his farms by the dozen. I was 
told that the annual dinner given to his tenant farmers 
came off the previous day at the inn where I lodged. 
A sumptuous banquet was provided for them, presided 
over by the steward of the estate ; as the great Mr. 
did not honor the plebeian company with his presence. 
This is a feature of the structure of English society 
which the best read American would not be likely 
to recognise without travelling somewhat extensively 
in the country. The British Nobility, the great, 
world-renowned Middle Class, and the poor laboring 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 265 

population constitute the three great divisions of the 
people and include them all in his mind. He is 
apt to leave out of count the Grentry, the great un- 
titled MISTERS, who come in between the nobility 
and middle-men, and constitute the connecting link 
between them. " The fine old English gentleman, all 
of the olden time," is supposed to belong to this class. 
They make up most of "the old county families," of 
which you hear more than you read. They are gene- 
rally large landholders, owning from twenty to one 
hundred farms. They live in grand old mansions, 
surrounded with liveried servants, and inspire a mild 
awe and respectful admiration, not only in the common 
country people, but in the minds of persons in whom 
an American would not look for such homage to 
untitled rank. They hunt with horses and dogs over 
the grounds of their tenant farmers, and the latter often 
act as game-beaters for them at their "shootings." 
When one of them owns a whole village, church and 
all, he is generally called " the Squire," but most 
of them are squired without the definite article. They 
still boast of as good specimens of " the fine old English 
gentleman " as the country can show ; and I am in- 
clined to think it is not an unfounded pretension, although 
I have not yet come in contact with many of the class. 
One of this country squirocracy I know personally 



266 A Walk from 

and well, and other Americans kuow him as well 
as myself, who, though living in a palace of his 
own, once occupied by an exiled French sovereign, 
is just as simple and honest as a child in every feature 
of his disposition and deportment. Every year he 
has a Festival in his park, lasting two or three days. 
It is a kind of out-door Parliament and a Greenwich 
Fair combined, as it would seem at first sight to 
an incidental spectator. I do not believe anything 
in the rest of the wide world could equal this gather- 
ing, for many peculiar features of enjoyment. It is 
made up of both sexes and all ages and conditions ; 
especially of the laboring classes. They come out 
strong on these occasions. The round and red faced 
boys and girls of villages and hamlets for a great 
distance around look forward to this annual frolic with 
exhilarating expectation. Never was romping and 
racing and the amorous forfeit plays of the ring got 
up under more favorable auspices, or with more 
pleasant surroundings. It would do any man's heart 
good, who was ever a genuine boy, to see the venerable 
squire and his lady presiding over a race between 
competing couples of ploughmen's boys, from ten to 
fifteen years of age, running their rounds in the park, 
barefooted, bare-headed, with faces as round and red 
as a ripe pumpkin, and hair of the same color whipping 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 267 

the air as they neck-and-neck it in the middle of the 
heat. When the winners of the prizes receive their 
rewards at his hands, his kind words and the radiant 
benevolence of his face they value more than the con- 
quest and the coins they win. 

Then there are intellectual entertainments and de- 
liberative proceedings of grave moment arranged for 
the elder portion of the great congregation. While 
groups of blushing lads and lasses are hunting the 
handkerchief in the hustle and tussle of the ring under 
the great, solemn elms, a scene may be witnessed on the 
lawn nearer the mansion that ought to have been 
painted long ago. Two or three double-horse wagons 
are ranged end to end in the shade, and planks are 
placed along from one end to the other, making a 
continuous seat for a score or two of orators. In front 
of this dozen-wheeled tribune rows of seats, capable of 
holding several hundred persons, are arranged within 
hearing distance. When these are all filled and sur- 
rounded by a standing wall of men and women, three 
or four deep, and when the orators of the day ascend 
over the wheels to the long wagon-seat, you have a 
scene and an assembly the like of which you find no 
where else in Christendom. No Saxon parliament of 
the Heptarchy could " hold a candle to it." Never, in 
any age or country of free speech, did individual ideas, 



268 A Walk from 

idiosyncracies, and liberty of conscience have freer scope 
and play. Never did all the isms of philanthropy, 
politics, or of social and moral reform generally have 
such a harmonious trysting time of it. Never was 
there a platform erected for discussing things local and 
general so catholic as the one now resting upon the 
wheels of those farm wagons. Every year the bland 
and venerable host succeeds in widening the area of 
debate. I was invited to be present at the Festival 
this year, but was too far on the road to John 0' Groat's 
to participate in a pleasure I have often enjoyed. But 
I read his resume of the year's doings, aspects and 
prospects from Japan to Hudson's Bay with lively 
interest and valuable instruction. He seldom presides 
himself as chairman, but leaves that post of honor to 
be filled, if possible, by the citizen of some foreign 
country, if he can speak English tolerably. This gives 
a more cosmopolitan aspect to the assembly. But he 
himself always makes what in Parliament would be 
called " a financial statement," without the reference 
to money matters. He sums up the significance of all 
the great events of the year, bearing upon human 
progress in general, and upon each specific enterprise 
in particular. With palatial mansions, parks, and 
farms great and small, scattered through several coun- 
ties, he is the greatest radical in England. He dis- 



London to John O 'Groat's. 269 

tances the Chartists altogether in his programme, and 
adds several new points to their political creed. He 
not only advocates manhood suffrage, but womanhood 
suffrage, and woman-seats in Parliament. Then he is 
a great friend of a reform which the Chartists grieviously 
overlook, and which would make thousands of them 
voters if they would adopt it. That is, Total Absti- 
nence from Tobacco, as well as from ardent spirits. 
Thus, no report of modern times equals the good 
Squire's summing up, which he gives on these occa- 
sions, from the great farm-wagon tribune, to the mul- 
titudinous and motley congregation assembled under 
his park trees. This year it was unusually rich and 
piquant, from the expanded area of events and aspects. 
In presenting these, as bearing upon the causes of 
Temperance, Peace, Anti-War, Anti-Slavery, Anti- 
Tobacco, Anti-Capital Punishment, Anti-Church-Eates, 
Free Trade, Woman's Eights, Parliamentary Eeform, 
Social Eeform, Scientific Progress, Discovery of the 
Sources of the Nile, and other important movements, 
he was necessarily obliged to be somewhat discursive. 
But he generalised with much ease and perspicuity, 
and conducted the thread of his discourse, like a rivulet 
of light, through the histories of the year ; transporting 
the mind of his audience from doings in Japan to those 
in America, from Poland to Mexico, and through stir- 



270 A Walk from 

ring regions of Geography, Politics, Philanthropy, 
Social Science and Economy, by gentle and interest- 
ing transitions. This annual statement is very valuable 
and instructive, and should have a wider publicity than 
it usually obtains. 

When "the fine old English gentleman all of the 
olden time " has concluded his resume of the year's pro- 
gress, and the prospects it leaves to the one incoming, 
the orators of the different causes which he has thus 
reported, arise one after the other, and the bright air 
and the green foliage of the over-spreading trees, as well 
as the listening multitude below, are stirred with 
fervid speeches, sometimes interspersed with "music 
from the band." The Festival is wound up by a 
banquet in the hall, given by the munificent host to 
a large number of guests, representing the various 
good movements advocated from the platform described. 
Many Americans have spoken from that rostrum, 
and sat at that banquet table in years gone by, and 
they will attest to the correctness of these slight 
delineations of the character of the host and of the 
annual festival that will perpetuate his name in long 
and pleasant remembrance. 

Oakham is a goodly and pleasant town, the chief 
and capital of Rutlandshire. It has the ruins of an 
old castle in its midst, and several interesting aiiti- 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 271 

quities and customs. It, too, has its unique speciality 
or prerogative. I was told that every person of title 
driving through the town, or coming to reside within 
the jurisdiction of its bye-laws, must leave his card 
to the authorities in the shape of a veritable horse-shoe. 
It is said that the walls of the old town hall are hung 
with these iron souvenirs of distinguished visits ; thus 
constituting a museum that would be instructive to 
a farrier or blacksmith, as well as to the antiquarian. 

From Oakham I walked to Melton Mowbray, a 
cleanly, good-looking town in Leicestershire, situated 
on the little river Eye. One cannot say exactly in 
regard to Rutlandshire what an Englishman once said 
to the authorities of a pigmy Italian duchy, who 
ordered him to leave it in twenty-four hours. " I only 
require fifteen minutes," said cousin John, with a look 
and tone which Jonathan could not imitate. This 
rural county is to the shire-family of England what 
Rhode Island is to the American family of States the 
smallest, but not least, in several happy characteristics. 

I spent a quiet sabbath in Melton Mowbray ; 
attended divine service in the old parish church and 
listened- to two extemporaneous sermons full of simple 
and earnest teaching, and delivered in a conversational 
tone of voice. Here, too, the parish church was seated 
in the midst of the great congregation which had long 



272 A Walk from 

ceased to listen to the call of its sabbath bells. It was 
a beautiful and touching arrangement of the olden 
time to erect the House of Prayer in the centre of 
" Grod's Acre," that the shadow of its belfry and the 
sabbath voice of its silvery bells might float for 
centuries over the family circles lying side by side in 
their long homes around the sanctuary. There was a 
good and tender thought in making up this sabbath 
society of the living and the dead ; in planting the 
narrow pathway between the two Sions with the white 
milestones of generations that had travelled in it ages 
gone, leaving here and there words of faith, hope and 
admonition to those following in their footsteps. It 
is one of the contingencies of " higher civilization " 
that this social economy of the churchyard, that linked 
present and past generations in such touching and 
instructive companionship, has been suspended and 
annulled. 

Melton Mowbray has also a very respectable indivi- 
duality. It is a great centre for the scarlet-coated 
Nimrods who scale hedges and ditches, in well-mounted 
squadrons, after a fox preserved at great' expense and 
care to become the victim of their valor. But this 
is a small and frivolous distinction compared with 
its celebrated manufacture of jjork-pics. It bids fair 
to become as famous for them as Banbury is for buns. 



London to John C? Groat's. 273 

I visited the principal establishment for providing the 
travelling and pic-nicking world with these very sub- 
stantial and palatable portables. I went under the 
impulse of that uneasy, suspicious curiosity to peer 
into the forbidden mysteries of the kitchen which 
generally brings no satisfaction when gratified, and 
which often admonishes a man not only to eat what 
is set before him without any questions for conscience 
sake, but also for the sake of the more delicate and 
exacting sensibilities of the stomach. I must confess 
my first visit to this, the greatest, pork-pie factory in 
the world savored a little of the anxiety to know the 
worst, instead of the best, in regard to the solid 
materials and lighter ingredients which entered into 
the composition of these suspiciously cheap Iuxuri.es. 
There were points also connected with the process of 
their elaboration which had given me an undefinable 
uneasiness in the refreshment rooms of a hundred 
railway stations. I was determined to settle these 
moot points once for all. So I entered the establish- 
ment with an eye of as keen a speculation as an excise- 
man's searching a building for illicit distillery, and I 
came out of it a more charitable and contented man. 
All was above-board, fair and clean. The meat was 
fresh and good. The flour was fine and sweet; the 
butter and lard would grace the neatest housewife's 



274 A Walk from 

larder ; the forms on which the pies were moulded 
were as pure as spotless marble. The men and boys 
looked healthy and bright ; their hands were smooth 
and clean, and their aprons white as snow. Not one 
of them smoked or took snuff at his work. I saw 
every process and implement employed in the con- 
struction of these pies for the market ; the great tubs of 
pepper and spice, the huge ovens, the cooling racks, 
the packing room ; in a word, every department and 
feature of the establishment. And the best thing I 
can say of it is this : that I shall eat with better satis- 
faction and relish hereafter the pies bearing the brand 
of Evans, of Melton Mowbray, than I ever did before. 
The famous Stilton cheese is another speciality of this 
quiet and interesting town, or of its immediate neigh- 
borhood. So, putting the two articles of luxury and 
consumption together, it is rather ahead of Banbury 
with its cakes. 

On Monday, August llth, I resumed my walk 
northward, and passed through a very highly culti- 
vated and interesting section. About the middle of 
the afternoon, I reached Broughton Hill, and looked 
off upon the most beautiful and magnificent landscape 
I have yet seen in England. It was the Belvoir 
Yale ; and it would be worth a hundred miles' 
walk to see it, if that was the only way to reach it. 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 275 

It lay in a half-moon shape, the base line measuring 
apparently about twenty miles in length. As I sat 
upon the high wall of this valley, that overlooks it 
on the south, I felt that I was looking upon the most 
highly-finished piece of pre-Eaphaelite artistry that 
could be found in the world, the artistry of the 
plough, glorious and beautiful with the unconscious 
and involuntary pictures which patient human labor 
paints upon the canvas of Nature. Never did I see 
the like before. If Turner had the shaping of the 
ground entirely for an artistic purpose, it could not 
have been more happily formed for a display of agricul- 
tural pictures. What might be called the physical 
vista made the most perfect hemiorama I ever looked 
upon. The long, high, wooded ridge, including 
Broughton Hill, eclipsed, as it were, just half the 
disk of a circle twenty miles in diameter, leaving the 
other half in all the glow and glory that Nature 
and that great blind painter, Agricultural Industry, 
could give to it. The valley with its foot against this 
mountainous ridge, put out its right arm and enfolded 
to its bosom a little, beautiful world of its own of about 
fifty miles girth. In this embrace were included hun- 
dreds of softly-rounded hills, with their intervening 
valleys, villages, hamlets, church spires and towers, 
plantations, groves, copses and hedgerow trees, grouped 
T -2 



276 A Walk from 

by sheer accident as picturesquely as Turner himself 
could have arranged them. The elevation of the ridge 
on which I sat softened down all these distant hills, 
so that they looked only like little undulating risings 
by which the valley gently ascended to the blue rim 
of the horizon on the north. 

It was an excellent standpoint on which to balance 
Nature and Human Industry ; to estimate their separate 
and joint work upon that vast landscape. A few cen- 
turies ago, perhaps about the time that the Mayflower 
sighted Plymouth Rock, this valley, now so inde- 
scribably beautiful, was almost in the state of nature. 
Wolves and wild boars may have been prowling about 
in the woods and tangled thickets that covered this 
ridge back for several leagues. Bushes, bogs and 
briers, and coarse prairie grass roughened the bottom 
of this valley ; matted heather, furze, broom and 
clumps of shrubby trees, all those hills and uplands 
arising in the background to the northward horizon. 
This declining sun, and the moon and stars that will 
soon follow in the pathway of its chariot, like a liveried 
cortege, shone upon that scene with all the light they 
will give this day and night. The rain and dew, 
and all the genial ministries of the seasons, did their 
unaided best to make it lovely and beautiful. The 
sweetest singing-birds of England came and tried 



London to John O 1 Groats. 277 

to cheer its solitude with their happy voices. The 
summer breezes came with their softest breath, whis- 
pering through brake, bush and brier the little 
speeches of Nature's life. The summer bees came and 
filled all those heather-purpled acres with their in- 
dustrial lays, and sang a merry song in the door of 
every wild-flower that gave them the petalled honey 
of its heart. All the trained and travelling industrials 
and all the sweet influences of Nature came and did 
all they could without man's help to make this great 
valley most delightful to the eye. But the wolves 
still prowled and howled ; the briers grew rough and 
rank ; the grass, coarse and thin ; the heathered hills 
were oozy and cold in their watery beds ; the clumpy, 
shrubby trees wore the same ragged coats of moss; 
and no feature of the scene mended for the better 
from year to year. 

Then came the great Blind Painter, with his rude, 
iron pencils, to the help of Nature. He came with the 
Axe, Plough and Spade, her mightiest allies. "With 
these he had driven wild Druidic Paganism back mile 
by mile from England's centre ; back into her dark 
fastnesses. With the Axe, Spade and Plough he chased 
the foul beasts and barbarisms from the island. Two 
centuries long was he in painting this Beautiful Valley. 
Nature ground and mixed the colors for him all the 



278 A Walk from 

while, for he was blind. He was poor ; often cold and 
hungry, and his children, with blue fingers and pale, 
silent eyes, sometimes asked for bread in winter he 
could not give. He lived in a low cottage, small, 
damp and dark, and laid him down at night upon a 
bed of straw. He could not read; and his thoughts 
of human life and its hereafter were few and small. 
He had no taste for music, and seldom whistled at his 
work. He wore a coarse garment, of ghostly pattern, 
called a smock-frock. His hat just rounded his head 
to a more globular and mindless form. His shoes were 
as heavy as a horse's with iron nails. He had no eye 
nor taste for colors. If all the trees, if all the crops of 
grain, grass and roots on which he wrought his life 
long, had come out in brickdust and oil, it would have 
been all the same to him, if they had sold as high in 
the market, and beer and bread had been as cheap for 
the uniformity. And yet he was the Turner of this 
great painting. He is the artist that has made Eng- 
land a gallery of the finest agricultural pictures in the 
world. And in no country in Christendom is High 
Art so appreciated to such pecuniary patronage and 
valuation as here. In none is the genius of the Pencil 
so treasured, so paid, and almost worshipped as here. 
The public and private galleries of Britain hold pic- 
tures that would buy every acre of the island at the 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 279 

price current of it when Elizabeth was queen. One of 
Turner's landscapes would pay for a whole Highland 
county at its valuation when Mary held her first court 
in Holyrood. 

I sit here and look off upon this largest, loveliest 
picture the Blind Painter has given to England. I 
note his grouping of the ivy-framed fields, of every 
size and form, panelling the gently-rounded hills, and 
all the soft slopes down to the foot of the valley ; the 
silvery, ripe barley against the dark-green beans ; the 
rich gold of the wheat against the smooth, blue-dashed 
leaves of the mangel wurzel or ruta baga ; the ripening 
oats overlooking a foreground of vividly green turnips, 
with alternations of pasture and meadow land, hedges 
running in every direction, plantations, groves, copses 
sprinkled over the whole vista, as if the whole little 
world, clear up to the soft, blue fringe of the horizon, 
were the design and work of a single artist. And this, 
and ten thousand pictures of the same genius, was the 
work of the Briarean-handed BLIND PAINTER, who 
still wears a smock-frock and hobnailed shoes, and 
lives in a low, damp cottage, and dines on bread and 
cheese among the golden sheaves of harvest ! 

0, Mother England ! thou that knightest the artists 
while living, and buildest their sepulchres when dead ; 
thou that honorest to such stature of praise the 



280 A Walk from 

plagiarists upon Nature, and clothest the copyists of 
patient Labor's pictures in such purple and fine linen ; 
thou whose heart is softening to the sweet "benevolences 
of Christian charity in so many directions, wilt thou 
not think, with a new sentiment of kindness and sym- 
pathy, on this Blind Painter, who has tapestried the 
hills and valleys of thy island with an artistry that 
angels might look upon with admiration and wonder ! 

Wilt thou not build him a better cottage to live in ? 

Wilt thou not give him something better than dry 
bread and cold bacon for dinner in harvest ? 

Wilt thou not teach all his children to read the 
alphabet and the blessed syllables of the Great Reve- 
lation of Grod's Love to man ? 

Wilt thou not make a morning-ward door in his 
dwelling and show him a future with a sun in it, in 
this world, as well as in the world to come ? 

Wilt thou not open up a pathway through the valley 
of his humiliation by which his children may ascend to 
the better conditions of society ? 



London to John O Groat's. 281 



CHAPTEE XIY. 

NOTTINGHAM AND ITS CHARACTERISTICS NEWSTEAD ABBEY MANSFIELD 

TALK IN A BLACKSMITH'S SHOP CHESTERFIELD, CHATSWORTH 
AND HADDON HALL ARISTOCRATIC CIVILIZATION, PRESENT AND 

PAST. 

"1T1EOM the Belvoir Vale I continued my walk to 
_L Nottingham the following day ; crossing a grand 
old bridge over the Trent. Take it all in all, this may 
be called perhaps the most English town in England ; 
stirring, plucky and radical ; full of industrial intel- 
lect and vigor. Its chief businesses involve and exer- 
cise thought; and thought educed into one direction 
and activity, runs naturally into others. The whole 
population, under these influences, has become peopled 
to a remarkable status and strength of opinion, senti- 
ment and action. They prefix that large and generous 
quality to their best doings and institutions, and have 
their Peoples' College, Peoples' Park, &c. The Peoples' 
Charter had its stronghold here, and all radical reforms 
are sure to find sympathy and support among the 
People of Nottingham. I should think no equal popu- 
lation in the kingdom would sing " Britons never, 



282 A Walk from 

never will be slaves," with more spirit, or, perhaps, 
with more understanding. Their plucky, English 
natures became terribly stirred up in the exciting 
time of the Reform Bill, and they burned down the 
magnificent palace-castle of the old Duke of Newcastle, 
crowning the mountainous rock which terminates on 
the west the elevated ridge on which the town is built. 
When the Bill was carried, and the People had cooled 
down to their normal condition of mind, they were 
obliged to pay for this evening's illumination of their 
wrath pretty dearly. The Duke mulcted the town and 
county to the tune of 21,000, or full $100,000. The 
castle was no Chepstow structure, rough and rude for 
war, but more like the ornate and castellated palace 
at Heidelberg, and .it was almost as high above the 
Trent as the latter is above the Neckar. The view the 
site commands is truly magnificent, embracing the 
Trent Valley, and an extensive vista beyond it. It 
was really the great lion of the town, and the People, 
having paid the 21,000 for dismounting it, because 
it roared in the wrong direction on the Reform Bill, 
expected, of course, that His Grace the Duke would set 
it up again on the old pedestal, with its mane and tail 
and general aspect much improved. But they counted 
without their host. " Is ifl not lawful to do what I 
will with my own," was the substance of his reply ; 



London to John O* Groat's. 283 

and there stands the blackened, crumbling ruin to this 
day, as a silent but grim reproach to the People for 
letting their angry passions rise to such destructive 
excitement on political questions. 

Hosiery and lace are the two great manufacturing 
interests of Nottingham, and the tons of these articles 
it turns out yearly for the world are astonishing in 
number and value. A single London house employs 
3,000 hands in the town and immediate vicinity upon 
hosiery alone for its establishment. Lace now seems 
to lead the way, and there are whole streets of factories 
and warehouses busy with its manufacture and sale. 
Perhaps no fabric in the world ever tested the inge- 
nuity and value of machinery like this. The cost 
has been reduced, from the old handworking to the 
present process, from three dollars to three cents a 
yard ! I think no machinery yet invented has been 
endowed with more delicate functions of human reason 
and genius than that employed upon the flower-work 
of this subtle drapery. Until I saw it with my own 
eyes, I had concluded that the machinery invented 
or employed in America for setting card-teeth was 
the most astute, and as nearly approaching the faculties 
of the human mind in its apparent thought-power, 
as it was reverent and safe to carry anything made 
of iron and steel, or made by man at all. To con- 



284 A Walk from 

struct a machine which should pass between its fingers 
a broad belt of leather and a fine thread of wire, prick 
rows of holes across the breadth of the leather, bend, 
cut off, and insert the shank ends of the teeth clear 
through these holes, and clinch them on the back side, 
and pour out a continuous, uninterrupted stream of 
perfectly-teethed belt, all ready for carding, this, I 
fancied, was the ne plus ultra of mechanical inventions. 
But it is quite surpassed by the lace-weaving looms 
of Nottingham, that work out, to exquisite perfection, 
all the flowers, leaves, vine and vein-work of nature. 
It was wonderful to see the ductility of cotton, as 
here exemplified. The bobbins, which, I suppose, are 
a mere refinement upon the old hand-thrown shuttle, 
are of brass, about the size of half-a-crown. A groove 
that will just admit the thin edge of a case-knife, 
is cut into the rim of the little wheel, about one quarter 
of an inch deep. A cotton thread 120 yards in length, 
and strong enough to be twitched about and twisted 
by a score of vigorous, chattering, iron fingers, is wound 
around in this groove. But it would be idle to attempt 
a description of either the machinery or the process. 

I went next into a large establishment for dyeing, 
dressing, winding and packing the lace for market. 
It was startling to see the acres of it dyed black for 
mourning. Really there seemed enough of it to drape 



London to John O' Groat's. 285 

the whole valley of the shadow of death ! It was an 
impressive sight truly. If there were other establish- 
ments doing the same thing, Nottingham must turn 
out weeds of grief enough for several millions of 
mourning widows, mothers, sisters and daughters in a 
year. I ascended into the dressing-room, I think they 
called it, in the upper story, where there was a peice 
containing one twenty-fifth of an acre of lace under- 
going a fearful operation for a human constitution to 
sustain. It was necessary that the heat of the apart- 
ment should be kept at one hundred and twenty degrees ! 
There was a large number of women and girls, and a 
few men and boys working under this melting ordeal. 
And one of the proprietors was at their head, in a 
rather summer dress, and with a seethed and crimson 
face beaded with hot perspiration. It was a very 
delicate and important operation which he had not 
only to watch with his own eyes, but to work at with 
his own hands. I was glad to learn that he was a 
staunch Protestant, and did not believe in purgatory ; 
but those poor girls ! could they be expected to hold 
to the same belief under such a test ? 

I was told that they get up lace so cheap that the 
people of the town frequently cover their gooseberry 
bushes with it to keep off the insects. Spider-webbing 
is a scarcely more gossamer-like fabric. Sixteen square 



286 A Walk from 

yards of this lace only weigh about an ounce ! If 
the negroes on one of the South Carolina Sea-island 
plantations could have been shut into that dressing- 
room for two whole minutes, with the mercury at 120 
degrees, they would have rolled up the whites of their 
eyes in perfect amazement and made a rush for 
" Dixie" again. 

From Nottingham I made an afternoon walk to 
Mansfield. The weather was splendid and the country 
in all the glory of harvest. On reaching Newstead 
Abbey, I found, to my regret, that the entree to the 
public had been closed by the new proprietor, one, I 
was told, of the manufacturing gentry of the Man- 
chester school. Not that he was less liberal and 
accommodating to sight-seers than his predecessors, 
but because he was making very extensive and costly 
improvements in the buildings and grounds. I have 
seen nothing yet in England to compare, for ornate 
carving, with the new gateway he is making to the 
park. It is of the finest kind of arabesque work done 
in stone that much resembles the Caen. This pre- 
vention barred me from even a distant view of the once 
famous residence of Lord Byron, as it could not be 
seen from the public road. 

Within about three miles of Mansfield, I came to 
a turnpike gate a neat, cosy, comfortable cottage, 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 287 

got up in the Gothic order. I stopped to rest a 
moment, and noticing the good woman setting her 
tea-table, I invited myself to a seat at it, on the inn 
basis, and had a pleasant meal and chat with her 
and an under-gamekeeper of the Duke of Portland, 
who had come in a little before me. The stories he 
told me about the extent of the Duke's possessions 
were marvellous, more especially in reference to his 
game preserves. I should think there must be a 
larger number of hares, rabbits, and partridges on 
his estate than in the whole of New England. As 
I sat engaged in conversation with the woman of the 
house and this accidental guest, an unmistakable 
American face met my eyes, as I raised them to the 
opposite wall. It was the familiar face of a Bristol 
clock, made in the Connecticut village adjoining the 
one in which I was born. It wore the same honest 
expression, which a great many ill-natured people, 
especially in our Southern States, have regarded as 
covering a dishonest and untruthful mind, or a bad 
memory of the hours. Still it is the most ubiquitous 
Americanism in the world, and it is pleasant to see 
its face in so many cottages of laboring men from 
Land's End to John 0' Groat's. 

Mansfield is a very substantial and venerable town, 
bearing a name which one distinguished man has rendered 



288 A Walk from 

illustrious by wearing it through a brilliant life. It is 
situated near the celebrated Sherwood Forest, and is 
marked by many features of peculiar interest. One of 
its noticeable celebrities is the house in which Lord 
Chesterfield resided. It is now occupied by a Wes- 
leyan minister, who elaborates his sermons in the 
very room, I believe, in which that fashionable noble- 
man penned his polite literature for youthful candidates 
for the uppermost circles of society. In the centre 
of the market place there is a magnificent monument 
erected to the memory of the late Lord George 
Bentinck, who was held in high esteem by the people 
of the town and vicinity. The manufactures are pretty 
much the same as in Nottingham. They turn out 
a great production of raw material in red sandstone, 
very much resembling our Portland, quite as fine, 
hard and durable. Immense blocks of it are quarried 
and conveyed to London and to all parts of the king- 
dom. The town also supplies a vast amount of 
moulding sand, of nearly the same color and con- 
sistency as that we procure from Albany. I stopped 
on my way into the town to take a turn through 
the cemetery, which was very beautifully laid out, 
and looked like a great garden lawn belted with 
shrubbery, and illuminated with the variegated lamps 
of flowers of every hue and breath. The meandering 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 289 

walks were all laid with asphalte, which presented a 
new and striking contrast to the gorgeous borders and 
the vivid green of the cleanly shaven grass. Many of 
the little graves were made in nests of geraniums and 
other modest and sweet-eyed stars of hope. 

Next day I had a very enjoyable walk in a north- 
westerly direction to Chesterfield. On the way, called 
in at a blacksmith's shop, and had a long talk with the 
smith-in-chief on matters connected with his trade. 
The " custom work " of such shops in country villages 
in England is like that in ours fifty years ago 
embracing the greatest variety of jobs. Articles now 
made with us in large manufacturing establishments 
at a price which would starve a master and his 
apprentice to compete with, are hammered out in these 
English shops on a single anvil. On comparing notes 
with this knight of the hammer, I learned a fact I had 
not known before. His price for horse-shoeing varied 
according to the size of the hoof, just as our leather- 
shoemakers charge according to the foot. On taking 
leave of him he intimated, in the most frank and 
natural way in the world, that, in our exchange of 
information, the balance was in his favor, and that 
I could not but think it fair to pay him the diffe- 
rence. I looked at him first inquiringly and doubtingly, 
embarrassed with the idea that I had not understood 



290 A Walk from 

him, or that he was a journeyman and not the master 
of the establishment. But he was as free and easy 
and natural as possible. An American tobacco-chewer, 
of fifty years' standing, would not have asked a cut 
from a neighbor's "lady's twist," or "pig-tail" in 
more perfect good faith. That good, round, English 
face would have blushed crimson if the man suspected 
that I misunderstood him. Nay, more, he would quite 
likely have thrown the pennies at my head if I had 
offered them to him to buy bread or bacon with for 
himself and family. I had no reason for a moment's 
doubt. It all meant beer, " only that and nothing 
more;" a mere pour boire souvenir to celebrate our 
mutual acquaintance. So I gave him a couple of 
pennies, just as I would have given him a bite of 
tobacco if we had both been in that line. I feared to 
give him more, lest he might think I meant bread and 
bacon and thought him a beggar. But I ventured to 
tell him, however, that I did not use that beverage 
myself, and hoped he would wish me health in some 
better enjoyment. 

I saw, for the first time, a number of Spanish cattle 
feeding in a pasture. They were large, variously 
colored animals with the widely-branching horns that 
distinguish them. A man must have a long range of 
buildings to stable a score of creatures with such horns, 



London to John Cf Groat's. 291 

and for that reason they will only be kept as curiosities 
in these northern latitudes. And they are curiosities 
of animal life, heightened to a wonderment when 
placed side by side with the black Galloways, or those 
British breeds of cattle which have no horns at all. I 
should not wonder, however, if this large, cream-colored 
stock from Spain should be introduced here to cross 
with the Durhams, Devons, and Herefords. 

When about half-way from Mansfield to Chester- 
field, a remarkable change came over the face of the 
landscape. The mosaic work of the hill-sides and 
valleys showed more green squares than before. Three- 
fourths of the fields were meadow or pasture, or in 
mangel or turnips. There was but one here and there 
in wheat or other grain. The road beneath and the 
sky above began to blacken, and the chimneys of 
coal pits to thicken. Sooty-faced men, horses and 
donkeys passed with loaded carts; and all the pre- 
monitory aspects of the "black country" multiplied 
as I proceeded. I do not recollect ever seeing a land- 
scape change so suddenly in England. 

Chesterfield is an intelligent looking town, evidently 
growing in population and prosperity. It has its own 
unique speciality; almost as strikingly distinctive as 
that of Strasburg or Pisa. This is the most ambiguous 
and mysterious church spire in the world. It would 
u '2 



292 A Walk from 

be very difficult to convey any idea of it by any 
description of an unaided pen ; and there is nothing- 
extant that would avail as an illustration. The church 
is very old and large, and stands upon a commanding 
eminence. The massive tower supports a tall but 
suddenly tapering spire of the most puzzling con- 
struction to the eye. It must have been designed 
by a monk of the olden time, with a Chinese turn of 
ingenuity. There is no order known to architecture to 
furnish a term or likeness for it. A ridgy, spiral spire 
are the three most descriptive words, but these are not 
half enough for stating the shape, style and posture 
of this strange steeple. It is difficult even to assist 
the imagination to form an idea of it. I will essay 
a few words in that direction. Suppose, then, a plain 
spire, 100 feet high, in the form of an attenuated cone, 
planted upon a heavy church tower. Now, in imagina- 
tion, plough this cone all around into deep ridges 
from top to bottom. Then mount to the top, and, 
with a great iron wrench, give it an even twist clear 
down to the base, so that each ridge shall wind entirely 
around the spire between the bottom and the top. 
Then, in giving it this screw-looking twist, bend over 
the top, with a gentle incline all the way down, so 
that it shall be " out of perpendicular " by about three 
feet. Then come down and look at your work, and 



London to John O Groat's. 293 

you will be astonished at it, standing far or near. 
The tall, ridgy, curved, conical screw puzzles you 
with all sorts of optical illusions. As the eyes in a 
front-face portrait follow you around the room in 
which it is hung, so this strange spire seems to lean 
over upon you at every point, as you walk round the 
church. Indeed, I believe it was only found out 
several centuries after its erection, that it absolutely 
leaned more in one direction than another. It is a 
remarkable sight from the railway as you approach 
the town from a distance. If it may be said reve- 
rently, the church, standing on comparatively a hill, 
not only lifts its horn on high, but one like that of a 
rhinoceros, considerably curved. Just outside the town 
stands the house in which Greorge Stephenson lived his 
last days, and ended his great life of benefaction to man- 
kind ; leaving upon that haloed spot a biograph which 
the ages of time to come shall not wash out. 

From Chesterfield I diverged westward to see Chats- 
worth and Haddon Hall. Whoever makes this walk 
or ride, let him be sure to stop on Watch Hill on the 
way, and look at the view eastward. It is grander 
than that of the Belvoir Vale, if not so beautiful. 

It was a pleasure quite equal to my anticipation to 
visit Chatsworth for the first time, after a sojourn in 
England, off and on, for sixteen years. It is the lion 



294 -^ Walk from 

number three, according to the American ranking of 
the historical edifices and localities of England. Strat- 
ford-upon-Avon, Westminster Abbey and Chatsworth 
are the three representative celebrities which our tra- 
vellers think they must visit, if they would see the life 
of England's ages from the best stand-points. And 
this is the order in which they rank them. Chatsworth 
and Haddon Hall should be seen the same day if pos- 
sible ; so that you may carry the impressions of the one 
fresh and active into the other. They are the two 
most representative buildings in the kingdom. Haddon 
is old English feudalism edificed. It represents the 
rough grandeur, hospitality, wassail and rude romance 
of the English nobility five hundred years ago. It was 
all in its glory about the time when Thomas-a-Becket 
the Magnificent used to entertain great companies of 
belted knights of the realm in a manner that exceeded 
regal munificence in those days, even directing fresh 
straw to be laid for them on his ample mansion floor, 
that they might not soil the bravery of their dresses 
when they bunked down for the night. The building 
is brimful of the character and history of that period. 
Indeed, there are no two milestones of English history 
so near together, and yet measuring such a space of 
the nation's life and manners between them, as this 
hall and that of Chatsworth. It was built, of course, 



London to John O Groat's. 295 

in the bow-and-arrow times, when the sun had to use 
the same missiles in shooting its barbed rays into the 
narrow apertures of old castles- or the stone coffins of 
fear-hunted knights and ladies, as they might be called. 
What a monument this to the dispositions and habits 
of the world, outside and inside, of that early time ! 
Here is the porter's or warder's lodge just inside the 
huge gate. To think of a living being with a human 
soul in him burrowing in such a place ! a big, black 
sarcophagus without a lid to it, set deep in the solid 
wall. Then there is the chapel. Compare it with that 
of Chatsworth, and you may count almost on your 
fingers the centuries that have intervened between 
them. It was new-roofed soon after the discovery of 
America, and perhaps done up to some show of decency 
and comfort. But how small and rude the pulpit and 
pews looking like rough-boarded potato-bins ! Here 
is the great banquet-hall, full to overflowing with the 
tracks and cross-tracks of that wild, strange life of old. 
There is a fire-place for you, and the mark in the 
chimney-back of five hundred Christmas logs. Doubt- 
less this great stone pavement of a floor was carpeted 
with straw at these banquets, after the illustrious 
Becket's pattern. Here is a memento of the feast 
hanging up at the top of the kitchen ward door; a 
pair of roughly-forged, rusty handcuffs amalgamated 



296 A Walk front 

into one pair of jaws, like a musk-rat trap. What was 
the use of that thing, conductor ? " That, sir, they 
put the 'ands in of them as shirked and didn't drink 
up all the wine as was poured into their cups, and 
there they made them stand on tiptoe up against that 
door, sir, before all the company, sir, until they was 
ashamed of theirselves." Descend into the kitchen, all 
scarred with the tremendous cookery of ages. Here 
they roasted bullocks whole, and just back in that dark 
vault with a slit or two in it for the light, they killed 
and dressed them. There are the relics of the shambles. 
And here is the great form on which they cut them up 
into manageable pieces. It would do you good, you 
Young America, to see that form, and the cross-gashes of 
the meat-axe in it. It is the half of a gigantic English 
oak, which was growing in Julius Caesar's time, sawed 
through lengthwise, making a top surface several feet 
wide, black and smooth as ebony. Some of the bark 
still clings to the under side. The dancing hall is 
the great room of the building. All that the taste, 
art and wealth of that day could do, was done to make 
it a splendid apartment, and it would pass muster still 
as a comfortable and respectable salon. As we pass out, 
you may decipher the short prayer cut in the wasting 
stone over a side portal, " GOD SAVE THE YERNONS ! " 
I hope this prayer has been favorably answered ; for 






London to yohn O 1 Groat's. 297 

history records much virtue in the family, mingled with 
some romantic escapades, which have contributed, I be- 
lieve, to the entertainment of many novel readers. 

Just what Haddon Hall is to the baronial life and 
society of England five hundred years ago, is Chats- 
worth to the fall stature of modern civilization and 
aristocratic wealth, taste and position. Of this it is 
probably the best measure and representative in the 
kingdom ; and as such it possesses a special value and 
interest to the world at large. Were it not for here 
and there such an establishment, we should lack way- 
marks in the progress of the arts, sciences and tastes 
of advancing civilization. Grovernments and joint- 
stock companies may erect and fill, with a world of 
utilities and curiosities of ancient and modern times, 
British Museums, National Galleries, Crystal Palaces 
and Polytechnic Institutions; but not one of these, 
nor the Louvre, nor Versailles, nor the Tuileries can 
compete with one private mind, taste and will con- 
centrated upon one great work for a life time, when 
endowed with the requisite perceptions and means 
competent to carry that work to the highest perfection 
of science, genius and art. Museums, galleries and 
public institutions of art are exclusively visiting places. 
The elegancies of home life are all shut out of their 
attractions. You see in them the work and presence 



298 A Walk from 

of a committee, or corporation, often in discrepant 
layers of taste and plan. One mind does not stand out 
or above the whole, fashioning the tout-ensemble to the 
symmetrical lines of one governing, all-pervading and 
shaping thought. You see no exquisite artistry of 
drawing-room or boudoir elegance and luxury running 
through living apartments of home, out into the con- 
servatories, lawns, gardens, park and all its surround- 
ings and embellishments, making the whole like a 
great illuminated volume of family life, which you may 
peruse page by page, and trace the same pen and the 
same story from beginning to end. Even the grandest 
royal residences lack, in this quality, what you will 
find at Chatsworth. They all show the sharp-edged 
strata of unamliated tastes and styles of different ages 
and artists. They lack the oneness of a single indi- 
viduality, of one great symmetrical conception. 

This one-mindedness, this one-man power of con- 
ception and execution gives to the Duke of Devon- 
shire's palace at Chatsworth an interest and a value that 
probably do not attach to any other private establishment 
in England. In this felicitous characteristic it stands 
out in remarkable prominence and in striking contrast 
with nearly all the other baronial halls of the country. 
It is the parlor pier-glass of the present century. It 
reflects the two images in vivid apposition the brilliant 



London to John OGroat's. 299 

civilization of this last, unfinished age in which we live 
and the life of bygone centuries ; that is, if Haddon 
Hall shows its face in it, or if you have the features of 
that antiquity before your eyes when you look into the 
Chatsworth mirror. The whole of this magnificent 
establishment bears the impress of the nineteenth 
century, inside and outside. The architecture, sculp- 
ture, carving, paintings, engravings, furniture, libraries, 
conservatories, flowers, shrubberies and rockeries all 
bear and honor the finger-prints of modern taste and 
art. In no casket in England, probably, have so many 
jewels of this century's civilization been treasured for 
posterity as in this mansion on the little meandering 
Derwent. If England has no grand National Grallery 
like the French Louvre, she has works of art that 
would fill fifty Louvres, collected and treasured in these 
quiet private halls, embosomed in green parks and 
plantations, from one end of the land to the other. 
And in no other country are the private treasure-houses 
of genius so accessible to the public as in this. They 
doubtless act as educational centres for refining the 
habits of the nation ; exerting an influence that reaches 
and elevates the homes of the people, cultivating in 
them new perceptions of beauty and comfort ; diffusing 
a taste for embowering even humble cottages in 
shrubbery ; making little flower-fringed lawns, six feet 



300 A Walk from 

by eight or less ; rockeries and ferneries, and artificial 
ruins of castles or abbeys of smaller dimensions still. 

In passing through the galleries and gardens of 
Chatsworth you will recognise the originals of many 
works of art which command the admiration of the 
world. The most familiar to the American visitor will 
probably be the great painting of the Bolton Abbey 
Scene, the engravings of which are so numerous and 
admired on both sides of the Atlantic. But there is 
the original of a greater work, which has made the 
wonder of the age. It is the original of the Great 
Crystal Palace of 1851, and the mother of all the 
palaces of the same structure which have been or will 
be erected in time past or to come. Here it diadems 
at Chatsworth the choice plants and flowers of all the 
tropics ; presenting a model which needed only expan- 
sion, and some modifications, to furnish the reproduction 
that delighted the world in Hyde Park, in 1851. 

I was pleasantly impressed with one feature of the 
economy that ruled at Chatsworth. Although there 
were between one and two thousand deer flecking the 
park, it was utilised to the pasturage of humbler and 
more useful animals. Over one hundred poor people's 
cows were feeding demurely over its vast extent, even 
to the gilded gates of the palace. They are charged 
only 2 for the season ; which is very moderate, even 



London to John O* Groat's. 301 

cheaper than the stony pasturage around the villages 
of New England. I noticed a flock of Spanish sheep, 
black-and-white, looking like a drove of Berkshire hogs, 
and seemingly clothed with bristles instead of wool. 
They are kept rather as curiosities than for use. 

Chatsworth, with all its treasures and embodiments 
of wealth, art and genius, with an estate continuous in 
one direction for about thirty miles, is but one of the 
establishments of the Duke of Devonshire. He owns 
a palace on the Thames that might crown the ambition 
of a German prince. He also counts in his possessions 
old abbeys, baro'nial halls, parks and towns that once 
were walled, and still have streets called after their 
gates. If any country is to have a personage occupy- 
ing such a position, it is well to have a considerable 
number of the same class, to yeomenise such an aristo- 
cracy to make each feel that he has his peers in fifty 
others. Otherwise an isolated duke would have to 
live and move outside the pale of human society ; a 
proud, haughty entity dashing about, with not even a 
comet's orbit nor any fixed place in the constellation of 
a nation's communities. It is of great necessity to 
him, independent of political considerations, that there 
is a House of Peers instituted, in which he may find 
his social level ; where he may meet his equals in con- 
siderable numbers, and feel himself but a man. 



302 A Walk from 



CHAPTER XV. 



SHEFFIELD AND ITS INDIVIDUALITY - THE COUNTRY, ABOVE GROUND 
AND UNDERGROUND - WAKEF1ELD AND LEEDS WHARF VALE - 
FARNLEY HALL - HAREOWGATE J RIPLEY CASTLE ; RIPON J CONSER- 
VATISM OF COUNTRY TOWNS - FOUNTAIN ABBEY ; STUDLEY PARK - 
HIEVAULX ABBEY - LORD FAVERSHAM'S 8HOBT-HORN STOCK. 



ROM Chatsworth I went on to Sheffield, crossing 
_L a hilly moorland belonging to the Duke of 
Rutland, and containing 10,000 acres in one solid 
block. It was all covered with heather, and kept in 
this wild, bleak condition for game. Here and there 
well-cultivated farms, as it were, bit into this cold 
waste, rescuing large, square morsels of land, and 
making them glow with the warm flush and glory 
of luxuriant harvests ; thus showing how such great 
reaches of desert may be made to blossom like the 
rose under the hand of human labor. 

Here is Sheffield, down here, sweltering, smoking, 
and sweating, with face like the tan, under the walls 
of these surrounding hills. Here live and labor 
Briareus and Cyclops of modern mythology. Here 
they, 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 303 

Swing their heavy sledge, 

With measured beats and slow ; 
Like the sexton ringing the village bell, 

When the evening sun is low. 

Here live the lineal descendants of Thor, christianised 
to human industries. Here the great hammer of the 
Scandinavian Thunderer descended, took nest, and 
hatched a brood of ten thousand little iron beetles 
for beating iron and steel into shapes and uses that 
Tubal Cain never dreamed of. Here you may hear 
their clatter night and day upon a thousand anvils. 
0, Yale of Vulcan ! 0, Valley of Knives ! Was ever 
a boy put into trousers, in either hemisphere, that 
did not carry in the first pocket made for him one 
of thy cheap blades ? Did ever a reaper in the Old 
World or New cut and bind a sheaf of grain, who 
did not wield one of thy famous sickles ? All 
Americans who were boys forty years ago, will re- 
member three English centres of peculiar interest to 
them. These were Sheffield, Colebrook Dale, and 
Paternoster Row. There was hardly a house or log 
cabin between the Penobscot and the Mississippi 
which could not show the imprint of these three 
places, on the iron tea-kettle, the youngest boy's 
Barlow knife, and his younger sister's picture-book. 
To the juvenile imagination of those times, Sheffield 
was a huge jack-knife, Colebrook Dale a porridge- 



304 A Walk from 

pot, and Paternoster Eow a psalm-book, each in the 
generative case. How we young reapers used to 
discuss the comparative merits and meanings of those 
mysterious letters on our sickles, BY and IR ! What 
were they ? Were they beginnings of words, or whole 
words themselves ? Did they stand for things, quali- 
ties, or persons ? " Mine is a By sickle ; mine is an Ir 
one. Mine is the best," says the last, " for it has the 
finest teeth and the best curve." That was our boys' 
talk in walking through the rye, with bent backs and 
red faces, a little behind our fathers ; who cut a wider 
work to enable us to keep near them. 

In what blacksmith shop or hardware house in 
America does not Sheffield show its face and faculties ? 
Did any American, knowing the difference between 
cast-iron and cast-steel, ever miss the sight of Naylor 
and Sanderson's yellow labels in his travels ? How 
many millions of acres of primeval forest have the 
axes edged with their fine steel cut through, and given 
to the plough ! Fashion has its Iron Age as well as 
its Grolden ; and, what is more remarkable, the first of 
the two has come last, in the fitful histories of custom. 
And this last freak of feminine taste has brought a 
wonderful grist of additional business to the Sheffield 
mill. The fair Eugenie has done a good thing for this 
smoky town, well deserving of a monument of bur- 



London to John O* Groat's. 305 

nished steel erected to her memory on one of these 
hills. More than this ; as Empress of Crinoline, she 
should wear the iron crown of Charlemagne in her own 
right. Her husband's empire is but a mere arrondisse- 
ment compared with the domain that does homage to 
her sceptre. Sheffield is the great arsenal of her arma- 
ments. Sheffield cases ships of war with iron plates a 
foot thick ; but that is nothing, in pounds avoirdupois, 
compared with the weight of steel it spins into elastic 
springs for casing the skirts of two hundred millions 
of the fair Eugenie's sex and lieges in the two hemi- 
spheres. It is estimated that ten thousand tons of steel 
are annually absorbed into this use in Christendom ; 
and Sheffield, doubtless, furnishes a large proportion of it. 
Here I had another involuntary walk, not put down 
in the programme of my expectations. On inquiring 
the way to Fir Vale, a picturesque suburb where a 
friend resided, I was directed to a locality which, it was 
suggested, must be the one I meant, though it was 
called Fir View. I followed the direction given for a 
considerable distance, when it was varied successively 
by persons of whom I occasionally inquired. After 
ascending and descending a number of steep hills, I 
suddenly came down upon the town again from the 
south, having made a complete circuit of it; a per- 
formance that cost me about two hours of time and 



306 A Walk from 

much unsatisfactory perspiration. Fearing that a 
second attempt would be equally unsuccessful, I took 
the Leeds road, and left the Jericho at the first round. 
Walked about nine miles to a furnace-lighted village 
called very appropriately Hoyland, or Highland, when 
anglicised from the Danish. It commands truly a 
grand view of wooded hills and deep valleys dashed 
with the sheen of ripened grain. 

The next day I passed through a good sample 
section of England's wealth and industry. Mansions 
and parks of the gentry, hill, valley, wheatfields, 
meadows of the most vivid green ; crops luxuriant in 
most picturesque alternations ; in a word, the whole a 
vista of the richest agricultural scenery. And yet out 
of the brightest and broadest fields of wheat, barley 
and oats, towered up the colliery chimneys in every 
direction, like good-natured and swarthy giants 
smoking their pipes complacently and " with comfort- 
able breasts " in view of the goodly scene. The 
golden grain grew thick and tall up to the very pit's 
mouth. In the sun-light above and gas-light below 
human industry was plying its differently-bitted 
implements. There were men reaping and studding 
the pathway of their sickles through that field with 
thickly-planted sheaves. But right under them, a 
hundred fathoms deep, subterranean farmers were at 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 307 

work, with black and sweaty brows, garnering the 
coal-harvest sown there before the Flood. Sickle above 
and pick below were gathering simultaneously the 
layers of wealth that Nature had stored in her parlor 
and cellar for man. 

I passed through Barnsley and Wakefield on this 
day's walk, towns full of profitable industries and 
busy populations, and growing in both after the 
American impulse and expansion. If the good " Vicar 
of Wakeneld" of the olden time could revisit the 
scene of his earthly experience, and look upon the old 
church of his ministry as it now appears, renovated 
from bottom to the top of its grand and lofty spire, he 
would not be entrapped again so easily into assent to 
the Greek apothegm of the swindler. 

I lodged at a little village inn between Wakeneld 
and Leeds, after a day of the most enjoyable walk 
that I had made. Never before, between sun and sun, 
had I passed over such a section of above-ground and 
under-ground industry and wealth. The next morning 
I continued northward, and noticed still more striking 
combinations of natural productions and human indus- 
tries than on the preceding day. One small, rural area 
in which these were blended impressed me greatly, 
and I stopped to photograph the scene on my mind. 
In a circle hardly a third of a mile in diameter, there 
x 2 



308 A Walk from 

was the heaviest crop of oats growing that I had yet 
seen in England ; in another part of the same field 
there was a large brick-kiln ; in another, an extensive 
quarry and machinery for sawing the stone into all 
sizes and shapes ; then a furnace for casting iron, and, 
lastly, a coal mine ; and all these departments of labor 
and production were in full operation^ It is quite 
possible that not one of the hundred laborers on and 
under this ten-acre patch ever thought it an extraordi- 
nary focus of production. Perhaps even the proprietors 
and managers of the five different enterprises worked 
on the small space had taken its rich and diversified 
fertilities as a matter of course, as we take the rain, 
light and heat of summer ; but to a traveller " taking 
stock " of a country's resources, it could not but be a 
point of view exciting admiration. I left it behind me 
deeply impressed with the conviction that I had seen 
the most productive ten-acre field that could be found 
on the surface of the globe, counting in the variety 
and value of its surface and sub-surface crops. 

I took tea with a friend in Leeds, remaining only 
an hour or two in that town, then pursuing my course 
northward. The wide world knows so much of Leeds 
that any notice that I could give of it might seem 
affected and presumptuous. It is to the Cloth- World 
what Borne is to the Catholic. Its Cloth Hall is the 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 309 

St. Peter's of Coat-and-trouserdom. Its river, streams 
and canals run black and blue with the stringent 
juices of all the woods and weeds of the world used 
in dyeing. The wools of all the continents come 
floating in here, like baled summer clouds of heaven. 
It is a city of magnipotent chimneys ; and they stand 
thick and tall on the hills and in the valleys around, 
and puff their black breathings into the face and eyes 
of the sky above, baconising its countenance, and giving 
it no time to wash up and look sober, calm and clean, 
except a few hours on the sabbath. The Leeds Mercury 
is a power in the land, and everybody who reads the 
English language in either hemisphere knows Edward 
Baines by name. 

As I emerged from the great, busy town on the 
north, I passed by the estates and residences of its 
manufacturing aristocracy. The homes they have built 
and embellished should satisfy the tastes and ambitions 
of any hereditary nobility. They need only a little 
more age to make them rival many baronial establish- 
ments. It is interesting to see how the different classes 
of society are stepping into each other's shoes in going 
up into higher grades of social life. The merchant and 
manufacturing princes of England have not only reached 
but surpassed the conditions of wealth, taste and ele- 
gance which the hereditary peers of the realm occupied 



310 A Walk from 

a century ago; while the latter have gone up to the 
rich and luxurious surroundings of kings and queens of 
that period. The upward movement has reached the 
very lowest strata of society. Not only have the small 
tradesmen and farmers ascended to the comfortable 
conditions of large merchants and landowners of one 
hundred years ago, hut common day laborers are lifted 
upward by the general uprising. I should not wonder 
if all the damp, low, cellarless cottages they now fre- 
quently inhabit should be swept away in less than fifty 
years and replaced by as comfortable buildings as the 
great middle class occupied in the childhood of the 
present generation. 

I found comfortable quarters for the night in the 
little village of Bramhope, about five miles from Leeds. 
The next day I walked to Harrowgate, passing through 
Otley and across the celebrated Wharf Vale. The scenery 
of this valley, as it opens upon you suddenly on descend- 
ing from the south into Otley, is exceedingly beautiful ; 
not so extensive as that of Belvoir Yale, but with all 
the features of the latter landscape compressed in a 
smaller space ; like a portrait taken on a smaller scale. 
As you look off from the southern ridge or wall of the 
valley, you seem to stand on the cord of a segment of 
a circle, the radius of which touches the horizon at 
about five miles to the north. This crescent is filled 



London to John O Groat's. 311 

with the most delicate lineaments of Nature's beauty. 
The opposite walls of the gallery slope upward from 
the meandering wharf so gently and yet reach the blue 
ceiling of the sky so near, that all the paintings that 
panel them are vividly distinct to your eye, and you 
can group all their lights and shades in the compass of 
a single glance. 

On the opposite side, half hidden and half revealed 
among the trees of an ample park, stands Farnley Hall, 
a historical residence of an old historical family. I had 
a letter of introduction to the present proprietor, Mr. 
Fawkes, who, I hope, will not deem it a disparagement 
to be called one of the Knights of the Shorthorns, a 
more extensive, useful, and cosmopolitan order than 
were the Knights of Ehodes or of Malta. Unfortu- 
nately for me, he was not at home ; but his steward, a 
very intelligent, gentlemanly and genial man, took me 
over the establishment, and showed me all the stock 
that was stabled, mostly bulls of different ages. They 
were all of the best families of Shorthorn blood, and a 
better connoisseur of animal life than myself could not 
have enjoyed the sight of such well-made creatures 
more thoroughly than I did. The prince of the blood, 
in my estimation, was "Lord Cobham," a cream-colored 
bull, with which compared that famous animal in Greek 
mythology which played himself off as such an Adonis 



312 A Walk from 

among the bovines, must have "been a shabby, scraggy 
quadruped. Poor Europa ! it would have been bad 
enough if she had been run away with by a " Lord 
Cobham." But the like of him did not live in her 
day. 

After going through the housings for cattle, the 
steward took me to the Hall, a grand old mansion full 
of English history, especially of the Commonwealth 
period. Indeed, one large apartment was a museum 
of relics of that stirring and stormy time. There, 
against the antique, carved wainscotting, hung the 
great broad-brim of Oliver Cromwell, with a circum- 
ference nearly as large as an opened umbrella, heavy, 
coarse and grim. There hung a sword he wielded in 
the fiery rifts of battle. There was Fairfax's sword 
hanging by its side; and his famous war-drum lay 
beneath. Its leather lungs, that once shouted the 
charge, were now still and frowsy, with no martial 
speech left in them. 

Mr. Fawkes owns about 15,000 acres of land, in- 
cluding most of the valley of Otley, and extending 
back almost to Harrowgate. He farms about 450 
acres, but grows no wheat. Indeed, I did not see a 
field of it in a circle of five miles' diameter. 

I reached Harrowgate in the dusk of the evening, 
and found the town alive with people mostly in the 



London to John C? Groat's. 313 

streets. It is a snug and cosy little Saratoga among 
the hills of Yorkshire, away from the smoke, soot and 
savor of the great manufacturing centres. It is a 
favorite resort for a mild class of invalids, and of per- 
sons who need the medicine of pure air and gentle 
exercise, blended with the quiet tonics of cheery mirth 
and recreation. Superadded to all these stimulants, 
there is a mineral spring at which the visitors, young 
and old, drink most voluminously. I went down to it 
in the morning before breakfast, and found it thronged 
by a multitude of men, women and children, who drank 
off great goblets of it with astonishing faith and facility. 
The rotunda was so filled with the fumes of sulphur 
that I found it more easy to inhale than to imbibe, and 
preferred to satisfy that sense as to the merits of the 
water. 

The next day I reached the brave old city of Eipon. 
On the way I stopped an hour or two at Eipley and 
visited the castle. The building itself is a good speci- 
men of the baronial hall of the olden time. But the 
gardens and grounds constitute its distinguishing fea- 
ture. I never saw before such an exquisite arrange- 
ment of flowers, even at Chats worth or the Kew Gardens. 
All forms imaginable were produced by them. The 
most extensive and elaborate combination was a row 
of flower sofas reaching around the garden. Each was 



314 A Walk from 

from 20 to 30 feet in length. The seat was wrought 
in geraniums of every tint, all grown to an even, com- 
pact surface, presenting figures as diversified as the 
alternating hues could produce. The back was worked 
in taller flowers, presenting the same evenness of line 
and surface. On entering the garden gate and catch- 
ing the first sight of these beautiful structures, you 
take them for veritable sofas, as perfectly wrought as 
anything was ever done in Berlin wool. 

Ripon is an interesting little city, with a fact-roll of 
history reaching back into the dimmest centuries of the 
land. It has run the gauntlet of all the Saxon, Danish, 
Scotch and Norman raids and regimes. It was burnt 
once or twice by each of these races in the struggle for 
supremacy. But with a plucky tenacity of life, it arose 
successively out of its own ashes and spread its phoenix 
wings to a new and vigorous vitality. A venerable 
cathedral looks down upon it with a motherly face. 
Unique, old buildings, with half their centuries unre- 
corded and lost in oblivion, stand to this day in good 
repair, as the homes of happy children, who play at 
marbles and the last sports of the day just as if they 
were born in houses only a year older than themselves. 
Institutions and customs older than the cathedral are 
kept up with a filial faith in their virtue. One of the 
most interesting of these, I believe, was established 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 315 

by the Saxon Edgar or Alfred it matters not which ; 
they were only a century or two apart, and that space 
is but a trifling circumstance in the history of this old 
country. One of these kings appointed an officer 
called a " wakeman " for the town. He must origi- 
nally have been a kind of secular beadle of the 
community, or a curfew constable, to see the whole 
population well a-bed in good season. One of his 
duties consisted in blowing a horn every night at nine 
o'clock as a signal to turn in. But a remarkable con- 
sideration was attached to faithful compliance with this 
summons. If any house or shop was robbed before 
sunrise, a tax was levied upon every inhabitant of 4d. 
if his house had one outer door, and of 8d. if it had 
two. This tax was to compensate the sufferer for his 
loss, and also to put the whole community under bonds 
to keep the peace and to feel responsible for the safety 
of each other's property. Thus it not only acted as a 
great mutual insurance company of which every house- 
holder was a member, but it made him, as it were, a 
special constable against burglary. This old Saxon 
institution is in full life and vigor to-day. The wake- 
man is still the highest secular official of the town. 
For a thousand consecutive years the wakeman's toot- 
horn has been blown at night over the successive 
generations of the little cathedral city. This is an 



316 A Walk from 

interesting fact, full of promise. No American could 
fail to admire this conservatism who appreciates national 
individuality. No one, at heart, could more highly 
esteem these salient traits of a people's character. And 
here I may as well put in a few thoughts on this 
subject as at any stage of my walk. 

Gk>od-natured reader, are you a man of sensitive 
perceptions as to the proprieties and dignities of dress 
and deportment which should characterise some great his- 
torical personage whose name you have held in profound 
veneration all your life long ? Now, in the wayward 
drift of your imagination among the freaks of modern 
fashion, did it ever dare to present before your eyes 
St. Paul in strapped pantaloons, figured velvet vest, 
swallow-tailed coat, stove-pipe hat, and a cockney glass 
at his eye ? Did your fancy, in its wildest fictions, 
ever pass such an image across the speculum of your 
mental vision ? 

Grentle reader, "in maiden meditation, fancy free," 
did a dreamy thought of yours ever stray through 
the histories of your sex and its modes of dress and 
adornment, and so blend or transpose them as to 
present to you, in a sudden flash of the imagination, 
the Virgin Mary dressed like the Empress Eugenie ? 
Readers both, did not that fancy trouble you, as if 
an unholy thought had fallen into the soul ? Well, 



London to John C? Groat's. 317 

a thought like that must trouble the American when 
his fancy passes before his mind's eye the image of 
Old England Americanised. And a faculty more 
serious and trusty than fancy will present this trans- 
formation to him, day by day, as he visits the great 
centres of the nation's life and industry. In London, 
Manchester, Liverpool, and all the most busy and 
prosperous commercial and manufacturing towns, he 
will see that England is becoming Americanised 
shockingly fast. In all these populous places it is 
losing the old individuality that once distinguished 
the grandfatherland of fifty millions who now speak 
its language beyond the sea. Look at London ! look 
at the miles of three and four storey houses under 
the mason's hands, now running out in every direction 
from the city. Will you see a single feature of the 
Old England of our common memories in them ? No, 
not one ! no more than in a modern English dress- 
coat, or in one of the iron rails of the British Great 
Western, or of the Illinois Central. It is doubtful 
if there will be anything of England left in London 
at the end of the next fifty years, unless it be the 
fog and the Lord Mayor's Show. Already the 
radicals are crying out against both of these insti- 
tutions, which are merely local, by the way. The 
tailor's shears, the mason's trowel, and the carpenter's 



318 A Walk from 

edge-tools are evenning everything in Christendom 
to one dead level of uniformity. The railroads and 
telegraphs are all working to the same end. All 
these agencies of modern civilization at first lay their 
innovating hands upon large cities or commercial 
centres. Thence they work outward slowly and 
transform the appearance and habits of the country. 
The transformations I have noticed in England since 
1846, are wonderful, utilitarian, and productive of 
absolute and rigid comfort to the people ; still, I 
must confess, they inspire in me a sentiment akin 
to that which our village fathers experienced when 
the old church in which they worshipped from child- 
hood was pulled down to make room for a better one. 

To every American, sympathising with these senti- 
ments, it must be interesting to visit such a rural 
little city as Bipon, and find populations that cling 
with reverence and affection to the old Saxon institu- 
tions of Alfred. It will make him feel that he stands 
in the unbroken lineage of the centuries, to hear the 
wakeman's horn, and to know that it has been blown, 
spring, summer, autumn and winter, in all weathers, 
in weal and in woe, for a thousand years. As Old 
England is driven farther and farther back from 
London, Manchester, Liverpool, and other great im- 
proving towns, she will find refuge and residence 



London to John Cf Groat's. 319 

in these retired country villages. Here she will wear 
longest and last the features in which she was engraven 
on the minds of all the millions who call her mother 
beyond the sea. 

The next day I visited the celebrated Fountain 
Abbey in Studley Park, a grand relic of antiquity, 
framed with silver and emerald work of lakelets, lawns, 
shrubberies and trees as beautifully arranged as art, 
taste and wealth could set them. The old abbey is a 
majestic ruin which fills one with wonder as he looks 
up at its broken arches and towers and sees the dimen- 
sions marked by the pedestals or foot-prints of its 
templed columns. It stands rather in a narrow glen 
than in a valley, and was commenced, it is supposed, 
about 1130. The yew-trees under which the monks 
bivouacked while at work upon the magnificent edifice, 
are still standing, bearing leaves as large and green as 
those that covered the enthusiastic architects of that 
early time. In the height of its prosperity and power, 
the lands of the abbey embraced over 72,000 acres. 
The Park enclosing this great monument of an earlier 
age contains about 250 acres, and is really an earthly 
elysium of beauty. It was comforting to learn that it 
was laid out so late as 1720, and that all the noble 
trees that filled it had grown to their present grandeur 
within the intervening period. Here I saw for the 



320 A Walk from 

first time in England our hard-maple. It was a 
spindling thing, looking as if it had suffered much 
from fever and ague or rheumatism ; but it was plea- 
sant to see it admitted into a larger fellowship of trees 
than our New England soil ever bore. On a green, 
lawn-faced slope, at the turning of the principal walk, 
there was a little tree a few feet high enclosed in by a 
circular wire fence. It was planted by the Princess of 
Wales on a visit of the royal pair to Studley soon after 
their marriage. The fair Dane left her card, in this 
way, to the old Abbey, which began to rise upon 
its foundations soon after the stalwart Danish sove- 
reign of England fell at the Battle of Hastings. Will 
any one of her posterity ever bear his name and sit 
upon the throne he vacated for that bloody grave ? 
No ! she will remember a better name at the font. 
The day and the name of the Harolds, Williams, 
Henrys, Charles's, and Greorges are over and gone 
forever. ALBERT THE GOOD has estopped that succes- 
sion ; and England, doubtless, for centuries to come, 
will wear that name and its memories in her crown. 

After spending a few hours at Studley Park, I 
returned to Eipon and went on to Thirsk, where I 
spent the Sabbath with a friend. The next day he 
drove me over to Rievaulx Abbey, which was the 
mother of Fountain Abbey. On the way to it we 



London to John O' Croat's. 321 

passed the ruins of another of these grand structures 
of that religious age, called Byland Abbey, where 
Robert Bruce came within an ace of capturing King 
Edward on his retreat from Scotland, after the battle 
of Bannockburn. 

One of the objects of this excursion was to visit the 
establishment of Lord Faversham, near Helmsley, who 
is one of the most scientific and successful stock-raisers, 
of the Shorthorn blood, in England, and to whom I had 
a note of introduction. But he, too, was not at home, 
which I much regretted, as I was desirous of seeing one 
of the peers of the realm who enter into this culture 
of animal life with so much personal interest and 
assiduity. His manager, however, was very affable 
and attentive, ready and pleased to give any informa- 
tion desired upon different points. He showed us a 
splendid set of animals. Indeed, I had never seen a 
herd to equal it. There were several bulls of different 
ages with a perfection of form truly admirable. 
Some of them had already drawn first prizes at 
different shows. Several noble specimens of this 
celebrated herd have been sold to stock-raisers in 
America, Australia and in continental countries. The 
most perfect of all the well-made animals on the estab- 
lishment, according to my untrained perceptions of 
symmetry, was a milk-white row, called " The Lady 



322 A Walk from 

in White," three years old. She and Mr. Fawkes' 
" Lord Cobham " should be shown together. I doubt 
if a better mated pair could be found in England. 
There was a large number of cows feeding in the park 
which would command admiration at any exhibition of 
stock. Lord Faversham's famous " Skyrocket " ended 
his days with much eclat. When getting into years, 
and into monstrous obesity, he was presented as a 
contribution to the Lancashire Distress Fund. Before 
passing into the butcher's hands, he was exhibited in 
Leeds, and realised about 200 as a show. Thus as a 
curiosity first, and as a small mountain of fat beef 
afterward, he proved a generous gift to the suffering 
operatives in the manufacturing districts. 

Passing through the park gate, we entered upon a 
lawn esplanade looking down upon the ruins of 
Rievaulx Abbey. This broad terrace extended for 
apparently a half of a mile, and was as finely carpeted 
piece of ground as you will find in England. No hair 
of horse or dog groomed or brushed with the nicest care, 
and soft and shining with the healthiest vitality, could 
surpass in delicacy and life of surface the grass coverlet 
of this long terrace, from which you looked down upon 
that grand monument of twelfth- century architecture 
half veiled among the trees of the glen. This was one 
of the oldest abbeys in the north of England, and the 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 323 

mother of several of them. Some of its walls are still 
as entire and perfect as those of Tinturn, on the Wye. 
It was founded by the monks of the St. Bernard order, 
in 1131, according to the historical record. Really 
those black-cowled masons and carvers must have given 
the enthusiasm and genius of the early painters of the 
Virgin to these magnificent structures. I will not go 
into the subject at large here, leaving it to form an 
entire chapter, when I have seen most of the old 
abbeys of the country. In looking up at their walls, 
arches and columns, one marvels to see the most 
delicate and elaborate vine and flower-work of the 
carver's chisel apparently as perfect as when it 
engraved the last line ; and this, too, in face of the 
frosts and beating storms of six hundred years. The 
largest ivy I ever saw buttressed one of the windowed 
walls with ten thousand cross-folded fingers and 
foliage of vivid green piled thick and high upon the 
teeth-marks of time. The trunk was a full foot 
through at the butt. A few years ago a large 
mound was uncovered near the ruin, and found to be 
composed of cinders, showing incontestably that the 
monks had worked iron ore very extensively, thus 
teaching the common people that art as well as agricul- 
ture. These cinders have been used very largely in 
repairing the roads for a considerable distance around. 



324 A- Walk from 

On returning to Thirsk over the Hambleton range 
of Mils, we crossed thousands of acres of moor-land 
covered with heather in full bloom, looking like a 
purple sea. It was a splendid sight. My friend, 
who was an artist, stopped for a while to sketch 
one or two views of the scene. As we proceeded, we 
saw several green and golden fields impinging upon 
this florid waste, serving to illustrate what might be 
done with the vast tracts of land in England and 
Scotland now bristling with this thick and prickly 
vegetation. The heatherland over which we were 
passing was utilised in a rather singular manner. It 
yielded pasturage to two sets of industrials sheep 
and bees. As the heather blossom is thought to 
impart a peculiarly pleasant flavor to honey, I was 
told many beestock- raisers of Lincolnshire brought 
their hives to this section to pasture them for a 
season on this purple prairie. 

The westward view from the precipitous heights of 
the Hambleton ridge is one of the most beautiful and 
extensive you will find in England, well worth a special 
journey to see it. The declining sun was flooding the 
great basin with the day's last, best smile, filling it to 
the golden rim of the horizon with a soft light in which 
lay a landscape of thirty miles' depth, embracing full 
fifty villages and hamlets, parks, plantations and groves, 



London to yohn O' Groat's. 325 

all looking " like emeralds chased in gold." On the 
whole, I am inclined to think many tourists would 
regard this view as even superior to that of Belvoir 
Yale. It might be justly placed between that and 
Wharf Yale. 

A London gentleman produced a most unique picture 
on the forehead of one of these hills, which may be seen 
at a great distance. In the first place, he had a smooth, 
lawn-like surface prepared on the steep slope. Then 
he cut out the form of a horse in the green turf, 
sowing the whole contour of the animal with lime. 
This brought out in such bold relief the body and 
limbs, that, at several miles' distance, you seem to see 
a colossal white horse standing on his four legs, perfect 
in form and feature, even to ear and nostril. The 
symmetry is perfect, although the body, head, legs and 
tail cover a space of four acres ! 

The next day I took staff for Northallerton, reach- 
ing that town about the middle of the afternoon. 
Passed through a highly cultivated district, and saw, 
for the first time, several reaping machines at work in 
the fields. I was struck at the manner in which they 
were used. I have noticed a peculiarity in reaping 
in this section which must appear singular to an 
American. The men cut inward instead of outward, 
as with us. And these machines were following the 



326 A Walk from 

same rule ! As they went around the field, they were 
followed or rather met by men and women, each with 
an allotted beat, who rushed in behind and gathered 
up the fallen from the standing grain so as to make a 
clear path for the next round. There seemed to be no 
reason for this singular and awkward practice, except 
the adhesion to an old custom of reaping. The 
grain was not very stout, nor was it lodged. 

From Northallerton I hastened on to Newcastle- 
upon-Tyne in order to attend, for the first time in my 
life, the meetings of the Social Science Congress. I 
reached that town on the 25th of August, and re- 
mained there a week, enjoying one of the greatest 
treats that ever fell to my lot. I will reserve a 
brief description of it for a separate chapter at the 
end of this volume, if my Notes on other matters do 
not crowd it out. 



London to John O Groat's. 327 



CHAPTER XVi: 

HEXIIAM THE NORTH TYNE BORDER-LAND AND ITS SUGGESTIONS 

HA WICK TEVIOTDALE BIRTH-PLACE OF LEYDEN MELROSB AND 

DRYBURGH ABBEYS ABBOTSFORD : SIR WALTER SCOTT; HOMAGE 

TO HIS GENIUS THE FERRY AND THE OAR-GIRL NEW FARM 

STEDDINGS SCENERY OF THE TWEED VALLEY EDINBURGH AND 

ITS CHARACTERISTICS. 

ON Thursday, Sept. 3rd, I left Newcastle, aiid 
proceeded first westward to the old town of 
Ilexham, with the view of taking a more central 
route into Scotland. Here, too, are the ruins of one 
of the most ancient of the abbeys. The parish church 
wears the wrinkles of as many centuries as the oldest 
in the land. Indeed, the town is full of antiquities 
of different dates and races, lloman, Scotch, Saxon, 
Danish and Norman. They all left the marks of their 
glaived hands upon it. 

From Hexham I faced northward and followed the 
North Tyne up through a very picturesque and 
romantic valley, thickly wooded and studded with 
baronial mansions, parks, castles and residences of 
gentry, with comfortable farm-houses looking sunny 



328 A Walk from 

and cheerful on the green hill slopes and on the quiet 
banks of the river. I saw fields of wheat quite green, 
looking as if they needed another month's sun to fit 
them for harvesting. Lodged in a little village about 
eight miles from Hexham. The next day walked on 
to the little hamlet of Fallstones, a distance of about 
twenty miles. As I ascended the valley, the scene 
changed rapidly. The river dwindled to a narrow 
stream. The hills that walled it on either side grew 
higher and balder, and the clouds lay cold and dank 
upon their bleak and sullen brows. The hamlets 
edged in here and there grew thinner, smaller and 
shabbier. The road was barred and gated about once 
in a mile, to keep cattle and sheep from wandering ; 
there being no fences nor hedges running parallel with 
it. In a word, the premonitory symptoms of a bare 
border-land thickened at every turn. 

Another day brought me into the midst of a wild 
region, which might be called No-man's-land ; although 
most of it belongs to the Duke of Northumberland. It 
is all in the solitary grandeur of heather-haired hills, 
which tinge, with their purple flush, the huge, black- 
winged clouds that alight upon them. Only here and 
there a shepherd's cottage is to be seen half way up the 
heights, or sheltering itself in a clump of trees in glen 
or gorge, like a benighted traveller bivouacking for a 



London to John O Groat's. 329 

night in a desert. Sheep, of the Cheviot breed mostly, 
are nearly the sole inhabitants and industrials of this 
mountainous waste. They climb to the highest peaks 
and bring down the white wealth of their wool to man. 
It was pleasant to see them like walking mites, flecking 
the dark brows of the mountains. They made a 
picture ; they made a tableau muant of the same 
illustration as Landseer's lamb looking into the grass- 
covered cannon's mouth. 

This is the Border-land! Here the fiercest anta- 
gonisms of hostile nationalities met in deadly conflict. 
Fire and blood, rapine and wrath blackened and 
reddened and ravaged for centuries across this bleak 
territory. Robber-chieftains and knighted free-booters 
carried on their guerilla raids backward and forward, 
under the counterfeited banner of patriotism. Scotch 
and English armies led by kings marched and counter- 
marched over this sombre boundary. Never before was 
there one apparently more insoluble as a barrier 
between two peoples. Never before in Christendom 
was there one that required a longer space of time to 
melt. Never before did the fusing of two nationalities 
encounter more fierce and prolonged opposition. Did 
ever patriotism pour out a swifter and deeper tide of 
chivalrous sentiment against merging one in another ? 
against uniting two thrones and two peoples in one ? 



330 A Walk from 

Did patriotism ever fight bloodier battles to prevent 
such a union, or cling to local sovereignty with a 
more desperate hold ? 

This is the Border-land! Look up the purpled 
steeps of these heathered hills. The white lambs are 
looking, with their soft, meek eyes, into the grass- 
choked mouths of the rusty and dismantled cannon 
of the war of nationalities between England and Scot- 
land. The deed has been consummated. The valor 
and patriotism of Wallace and Bruce could not pre- 
vent it. The sheep of English and Scotch shepherds 
feed side by side on these mountain heights, in spite of 
Stirling and Bannockburn, of Flodden and Falkirk. 
The Iron Horse, bearing the blended arms of the two 
realms on his shield, walks over those battle-fields by 
night and day, treading their memories deeper and 
deeper in the dust. The lambs are playing in the sun 
on the boundary line of the two dominions. Does a 
Scot of to-day love his native land less than the Camp- 
bell clansman or clan-chief in Bruce's time? Not a 
whit. He carries a heartful of its choicest memories 
with him into all countries of his sojourning. But 
there is a larger sentiment that includes all these filial 
feelings toward his motherland, while it draws addi- 
tional warmth and strength from them. It is the sen- 
timent of Imperial Nationality ; the feeling of a Briton, 



London to John O"Groafs. 331 

that does not extinguish nor absorb, nor compete with, 
the Scot in his heart ; the feeling that he is a political 
constituent of a mighty nation, whose feet stand upon 
all the continents of the earth, while it holds the best 
islands of the sea in its hands ; the feeling with which 
he says We with all the millions of a dominion on which 
the sun never sets, and Our, when he speaks of its 
grand and common histories, its hopes, prospects, pro- 
gress, power and aspirations. 

There was a Border-land, dark and bloody, between 
Saxon England and Celtic Wales. For centuries the 
red foot-marks of savage conflict scarred and covered its 
wild war er before did so small a people make 

so stout, and desperate and protracted struggle for 
local independence and isolation. Never did one pro- 
duce a more strong-hearted and blind-eyed patriotism, 
or patriotism more poets to thrill the listeners to their 
lays with the intoxicating fanaticism of a national 
sentiment. On that Border-land the white lambs 
now He in the sun. The Welsh sentiment is as strong 
as ever in the Snowden shepherd, and he may not 
speak a dozen words of the English tongue. But the 
Briton lives in his breast. The feeling of its great 
meaning surrounds and illumines the inner circles of his 
local attachment. He may never have seen a map of 
the Globe, and never have been outside the wall of the 



332 A Walk from 

Welsh mountains ; but he knows, without geography, 
who and what Queen. Victoria is among the earth's 
sovereigns, and the length and breadth of her sceptre's 
reach and rule around the world. 

There was a Border-land between Britain and 
Ireland, blackened and scarred with more burning 
antagonisms than those that once divided the larger 
island. The record of several consecutive centuries 
is graven deep in it by the brand and bayonet, and 
by the more incisive teeth-marks of hate. The slum- 
bering antipathies of race and religion even now crop 
out here and there over the unfused boundary in his- 
sing tongues of flame. The Briton and the Celt are 
still struggling for the precedence in the Irishman's 
breast ; but it is not a war of extermination. His 
ardent nature is given to martial memories, and all 
the battles he boasts of are British battles, in which 
he or his father played the hero number one. The 
history of independent Ireland is poor and thin ; still 
he holds it back in his heart, and hesitates to link it 
with the great annals of the " Saxon " realm, and 
thus make of both one grand and glorious record, 
present and future. He cannot yet make up his 
mind to say We with all the other English-speaking 
millions of the empire, as the Scotsman and Welsh- 
man have learned and loved to say it. He cannot 



London to John Cf Groat's. 333 

as yet say Our with them with such a sentiment of 
joint interest, when the histories, hopes, expansion and 
capacities of that empire unroll their vista before him. 
But the rains and the dews of a milder century are 
falling upon this Border-land. The lava of spent 
volcanoes that covered it is taking soil and seed of 
green vegetation. The white lambs shall yet lie on 
it in the sun. 

What a volume might be filled with the succinctest 
history of the Border-lands of Christendom ! France 
was intersected with them for centuries. Seemingly 
they were as implacable and obdurate as any that 
ever divided the British isle. Local patriotism wrote 
poetry and shed blood voluminously to prevent the 
fusion of these old landmarks of pigmy nationalities. 
It took nearly a thousand years to complete the 
blending ; to make the ice and the our of one great 
consolidated empire the largest political sentiment of 
the man of Normandy, Burgundy or Navarre. Long 
and fierce, and seemingly endless was the struggle ; 
but at last, on all these old obstinate boundaries of 
hostile principalities, the white lambs lay in the sun. 

There are Border-lands now in the south and east 
of Europe foaming and seething with the same an- 
tagonisms of race and language ; and Christendom 
is tremulous with their emotion. It is the same old 



334 A Walk from 

struggle over again ; and yet ninety-nine in a hundred 
of intelligent and reading people, with the history 
of British and French Border-lands before them, 
seem to think that a new and strange thing has 
happened under the sun. Full that proportion of 
our English-speaking race, in both hemispheres, closing 
the volume of its own annals, have made up their 
minds to the belief that these Border-lands between 
German and Magyar, Teuton and Latin, Buss and 
Pole, bristle with antagonisms the like of which 
never were subdued, and never ought to be subdued 
by human means or motives. To them, naturally, the 
half century of this hissing and seething, insurrection 
and repression, is longer than the five hundred years 
and more it took to fuse into one the nationalities of 
England and Wales. What a point of space is a 
century midway between the ninth and the nineteenth ! 
Few are long-sighted enough in historic vision to 
touch that point with a cambric needle. It may seem 
unfeeling to say it or think it ; still it is as true as 
the plainest history of the last millenium. There is 
a patriotism that looks at the future through a gimlet 
hole, and sees in it but a single star. That patriotism 
is a natural and most popular sentiment. It was 
strong in the Welshman's breast a thousand years 
ago, and in the Scotsman's half that distance back 



London to John O' Groat's. 335 

in the past. But it IB a patriotism that has its day 
and its rule ; then both its eyes are opened, and it 
looks upon the firmament of the future broadside on, 
and sees a constellation where it once saw and half 
worshipped a solitary star. Better to be the part of 
a great WHOLE than the whole of a little nothing. 

These continental Border-lands may see the faces 
of their future history in the mirror of England's 
annals. They are quaking now with the impetuous 
emotions of local nationality. They are blackened 
and scarred in the contest for the Welsh and Scotch 
independence of centuries agone. But over those 
boundary wastes the grass shall yet grow soft, fair 
and green, and there, too, the white lambs shall lie 
in the sun. 

My walk lay over the most inhospitable and un- 
peopled section I ever saw. Calling at a station on 
the railway that passes through it, I was told by the 
master that the nearest church or chapel was sixteen, 
miles in one direction, and over twenty in another. It 
is doubtful if so large a churchless space could be found 
in Iowa or even Kanzas. I was glad to reach Hawick, 
a good, solid town but a little way inside of the Scottish 
border, where I spent the sabbath and the following 
Monday. This was a rallying and sallying point in 
the old Border "Wars, and was inundated two or three 



336 A Walk from 

times by the flux and reflux .,of this conflict, having 
been burnt twice, and put under the ordeal of other 
calamities brought upon it when free-booting was both 
the business occupation and pastime of knighted chief- 
tains and their clansmen. It is now a thrifty, manu- 
facturing town, lying in the trough of the sea, or of 
the lofty hills that resemble waves hardened to earth 
in their crests. Just opposite the Temperance Inn in 
which I had my quarters, was the Tower Hotel, once 
a palatial mansion of the Buccleuchs. There the 
Duchess of Monmouth used to hold her drawing-rooms 
in an apartment which many a New England journey- 
man mechanic would hardly think ample and comfort- 
able enough for his parlor. There is a curious conical 
mound in the town, called the Moat-hill, which looks 
like a great, green carbuncle. It is thought by some 
to be a Druidical monument, but is quite involved 
in a mystery which no one has satisfactorily solved. 
It is strange that no persistent and successful effort 
has been made to let day-light through it. Some 
workmen a long time ago undertook to perforate it, 
but were frightened away by a thunder-storm, which 
they seemed to take as a reproof and threatened 
punishment for their profanity. The great business 
of Hawick is the manufacture of a woollen fabric 
called Tweeds. It came to this name in a singular 



London to John G 1 Groat's. 



337 



way. The clerk of the factory made out an invoice of 
the first lot to a London house under the name of 
Twilled goods. The London man read it Tweeds, 
instead of Twilled, and ever since they have gone by 
that title. As Sir Walter Scott was at that time 
making the name "Tweed" illustrious, the mistake 
was a very lucrative one to the manufacturers of the 
article. Here, too, in this border town commences 
that chain of birth-places of eminent men, who have 
honored Scotland with their lives and history. Here 
was born James Wilson, once the editor of The Econo- 
mist, who worked his way up, through intermediate 
positions of public honor and trust, to that of Finance 
Minister for India, and died at the meridian of his 
manhood in that country of dearly-bought distinctions. 
On Tuesday, Sept. 8th, I commenced my walk 
northward from this threshold town of Scotland. Fol- 
lowed down the Teviot to Denholm, the birth-place 
of the celebrated poet and linguist, Dr. John Leyden, 
another victim who offered himself a sacrifice to the 
costly honors and emoluments of East Indian official 
life. One great thought fired his soul in all the 
perils and privations of that deadly climate. It was 
to ascend one niche higher in knowledge of oriental 
tongues than Sir William Jones. He labored to this 
owl with a desperate assiduity that perhaps was never 



338 A Walk from 

surpassed or even equalled. He died hugging the 
conviction that he had attained it. This little village 
was his birth-place. Here he wrote his first rhymes, 
and- wooed and won the first inspirations of the muse. 
His heart, as its last pulses grew weaker and slower, 
in that far-off heathen land, took on its child-thoughts 
again and its child-memories ; and his last words 
were about this little, rural hamlet where he was born. 
A beautiful monument has been erected to his memory 
in the centre of the large common around which the 
village is built. On each of the four sides of the 
monument there is a tribute to his name and worth ; 
one from Sir Walter Scott, and one taken from his 
own poems, entitled " Scenes of my Infancy," a touch- 
ing appeal to his old friends and neighbors to hold 
him in kind remembrance. 

All this section is as fertile as it can be with the 
sceneries and historical associations favorable for in- 
spiring a strong-hearted love of country, and for the 
development of the poetry of romantic patriotism. 
It was pleasant to emerge from the dark, cold, barren 
border-land, from the uncivilised mountains, standing 
sullen in the wild, shaggy chevelurc of nature, and to 
walk again between towering hills dressed in the best 
toilet of human industry, crowned with golden wheat- 
fields, and zoned with broad girdles of the greenest 



London to John O* Groat's. 339 

vegetation. It is when these contrasts are suddenly 
and closely brought within the same vista that one 
sees and feels how the Creator has honored the labor 
of human hands, and lifted it up into partnership with 
His omnipotences in chronicling the consecutive cen- 
turies of the earth in illuminated capitals of this joint 
handwriting. It is a grand and impressive sight one 
of those dark-browed hills of the Border-land, bearded 
to its rock-ridged forehead with such bush-bristles and 
haired with matted heather. In nature it is what a 
painted Indian squaw in her blanket, eagle feathers 
and moccasins is in the world of humanity. We look 
upon both with a species of admiration, as contrasts 
with objects whose worth is measured by the com- 
parison. The Empress Eugenie and the Princess 
of Wales, and wives and sisters lovelier still to the 
circles of humble life, look more beautiful and graceful 
when the eye turns to them from a glance at the best- 
looking squaw of the North American wilds. And so 
looked the well-dressed hills on each side of the Teviot, 
compared with the uncultured and stunted mountains 
among which I had so recently walked. 

Ascending from Teviotdale, I passed the Earl of 

Minto's seat, a large and modern-looking mansion, 

surrounded with beautiful grounds and noble trees, and 

commanding a grand and picturesque view of valley 

z2 



340 A Walk from 

and mountain from an excellent point of observation. 
As soon as I lost sight of Teviotdale another grand 
vista of golden and purpled hills and rich valleys burst 
upon my sight as suddenly as theatrical sceneries are 
shifted on the stage. Dined in a little, rural, 
unpoetical village bearing the name of Lilliesleaf. 
Resuming . my walk, I soon came in sight of the grand 
valley of the Tweed, a great basin of natural beauty, 
holding, as it were, Scotland's " apples of gold in 
pictures of silver." Every step commanded some new 
feature of interest. Here on the left arose to the still, 
blue bosom of the sty the three great Eildon Hills, with 
their heads crowned with heather as with an emerald 
diadem. The sun is low, and the far-off village in the 
valley shows dimly between the daylight and the dark- 
ness. There is the shadow of a broken edifice, broken 
but grand, that arises out of the midst of the low 
houses. A little farther on, arches and the stone vein- 
work of glassless windows, and ivy-netted towers come 
out more distinctly. I recognise them at the next furlong. 
They stand thus in pictures hung up in the parlors of 
thousands of common homes in America, Australia and 
India. They are the ruins of Melrose Abbey. Here 
is the original of the picture. I see it at last, as 
thousands of Americans have seen it before. In history 
and association it is to them the Westminster Abbey of 



London to John O Groat's. 341 

Scotland, but in ruin. It looks natural, though not at 
first glance what one expected. The familiar engraving 
does not give us the real flesh and blood of the 
antiquity, or the complexion of the stone ; but it does 
not exaggerate the exquisite symmetries and artistic 
genius of the structure. These truly inspire one with 
wonder. They are all that pen and pencil have 
described them. The great window, which is the 
most salient feature in the common picture, is a magni- 
ficent piece of work in stone, twenty-four feet in height 
and sixteen in breadth. It is all in the elm-tree order 
of architecture. The old monks belonged to that 
school, and they wrought out branches, leaves and 
leaf- veins, and framed the lacework of their chisels with 
colored glass most exquisitely. 

Melrose Abbey was the eldest daughter, I believe, 
of Bievaulx Abbey, in Yorkshire, which has already 
been noticed; a year or two older in its foundation 
than Fountain Abbey, in Studley Park. The fecundity 
with which these ecclesiastical buildings multiplied and 
replenished England and Scotland is a marvel, con- 
sidering the age in which they were erected and the 
small population and the poverty of the country. But 
something on this aspect of the subject hereafter. Here 
lie the ashes of Scottish kings, abbots and knights 
whose names figured conspicuously in the history of 



342 A Walk from 

public and private wars which cover such a space of 
of the country's life as an independent nation. The 
Douglas family especially with several of its branches 
found a resting-place for their dust within these walls. 
Built and rebuilt, burnt and reburnt, mutilated, dis- 
membered, consecrated and desecrated make up the 
history of Jthis celebrated edifice, and that of its like, 
from Land's End to John O'Groat's. It is a slight but 
a very appreciable mitigation of these destructive acts 
that it was ruined artistically ; just as some enthusiastic 
castle and abbey-painter would have suggested. 

Although I spent the night at Melrose, it was a dark 
and cloudy one, so that I could not see the abbey by 
moonlight a view so much prized and celebrated. 
The next day I literally walked from morning till 
evening among the tombstones of antiquity and monu- 
ments of Scotch history invested with an interest which 
will never wane. In the first place, I went down the 
Tweed a few miles and crossed it in a ferry-boat to see 
Dryburgh Abbey. Here, embowered among the trees 
in a silver curve of the river, stands this grand monu- 
ment of one of the most remarkable ages of the world. 
Within an hour's walk from Melrose, and four or five 
years only after the completion of that edifice, the 
foundations of this were laid. It is astonishing. We 
will not dwell upon it now, but make a separate 



London to JoJm Cf Groat's. 343 

chapter on it when I have seen most of the other ruins 
of the kind in the kingdom. The French are given to 
the habit of festooning the monuments and graves of 
their relatives and friends with immortelles. Nature has 
hung one of hers to Dryburgh Abbey. It is a yew- 
tree opposite the door by which you enter the ruins. 
The year-rings of its trunk register all the centuries 
that the stones of the oldest wall have stood imbedded 
one upon the other. The tree is still green, putting 
forth its leaf in its season. But there is an immortelle 
hung to these dark, crumbling walls that shall outlive 
the greenest trees now growing on earth. Here, in a 
little vaulted chapel, or rather a deep niche in the wall, 
lie the remains of Sir Walter Scott, his wife and the 
brilliant Lockhart. How many thousands of all lands 
where the English language is spoken will come and 
stand here in mute and pensive communion before the 
iron gate of this family tomb and look through the 
bars upon this group of simply-lettered stones ! 

From Dryburgh I walked back to Melrose on the 
east side of the Tweed. Lost the foot-path, and for 
two hours clambered up and down the precipitous cliffs 
that rise high and abrupt from the river. In many 
places the zig-zag path was cut into the rock, hardly a 
foot in breadth, overhanging a precipice which a person 
of weak nerves could hardly face with composure. At 



344 A Walk from 

last got out of these dark fastnesses and ascended a 
range of lofty hills where I found a good carriage road. 
This elevation commanded the most magnificent view 
that I ever saw in Scotland, excepting, perhaps, the 
one from Stirling Castle only for the feature which the 
Forth supplies. It was truly beautiful beyond descrip- 
tion, and it would be useless for me to attempt one. 

After dinner in Melrose, I resumed my walk north- 
ward and came suddenly upon Abbotsford. Indeed, 
I should have missed it, had I not noticed a wooden 
gate open on the roadside, with some directions upon 
it for those wishing to visit the house. As it stands 
low down towards the river, and as all the space above 
it to the road is covered with trees and shrubbery, it 
is entirely hidden from view in that direction. The 
descent to the house is rather steep and long. And 
here it is ! Abbotsford ! It is the photograph of Sir 
Walter Scott. It is brim full of him and his histories. 
No author's pen ever gave such an individuality to a 
human home. It is all the coinage of thoughts that 
have flooded the hemispheres. Pages of living litera- 
ture built up all these lofty walls, bent these arches, 
panelled these ceilings, and filled the whole edifice with 
these mementoes of the men and ages gone. Every 
one of these hewn stones cost a paragraph ; that carved 
and gilded crest, a column's length of thinking done on 



London to Joint O 1 Groat's. 



345 



paper. It must be true that pure, unaided literary 
labor never built before a mansion of this magnitude 
and filled it with such treasures of art and history. 
This will forever make it and the pictures of it a monu- 
ment of peculiar interest. I have said that it is brim 
full of the author. It is equally full of all he wrote 
about ; full of the interesting topographs of Scotland's 
history, back to the twilight ages ; full inside and out, 
and in the very garden and stable walls. The studio 
of an artist was never fuller of models of human or 
animal heads, or of counterfeit duplicates of nature's 
handiwork, than Sir Walter's mansion is of things his 
pen painted on in the long life of its inspirations. The 
very porchway that leads into the house is hung with 
petrified stag-horns, doubtless dug up in Scottish bogs, 
and illustrating a page of the natural history of the 
country in some pre-historic century. The halls are 
panelled with Scotland, with carvings in oak from the 
old palace of Dunfermline. Coats of arms of the 
celebrated Border chieftains are arrayed in line around 
the walls. The armoury is a miniature arsenal of all 
arms ever wielded since the time of the Druids. And 
a history attaches to nearly every one of the weapons. 
History hangs its webwork everywhere. It is built, 
high and low, into the face of the outside walls. 
Quaint, old, carved stones from abbey and castle ruins, 



346 A Walk from 

arms, devices and inscriptions are all here presented to 
the eye like the printed page of an open volume. 
Among the interesting relics are a chair made from the 
rafters of the house in which Wallace was betrayed, 
Rob Roy's pistol, and the key of the old Tolbooth of 
Edinburgh. 

I was conducted through the rooms opened to visitors 
by a very gentlemanly-looking man, who might be 
taken for an author himself, from his intellectual ap- 
pearance and conversation. The library is the largest 
of all the apartments fifty feet by sixty. Nor is it 
too large for the collection of books it contains, which 
numbers about 20,000 volumes, many of them very 
rare and valuable. But the soul-centre of the building 
to me was the study, opening into the library. There 
is the small writing-table, and there is the plain arm- 
chair in which he sat by it and worked out those 
creations of fancy which have excited such interest 
through the world. That square foot over against 
this chair, where his paper lay, is the focus, the point 
of incidence and reflection, of thoughts that pencilled 
outward, like sun-rays, until their illumination 
reached the antipodes, thoughts that brought a plea- 
sant shining to the sun-burnt face of the Australian 
shepherd as he watched his flock at noon from under 
the shadow of a stunted tree ; thoughts which made 



London to John O 1 Croat's. 347 

a cheery fellowship at night for the Hudson Bay 
hunter, in his snow-buried cabin on the Sakatchiwine. 
The books of this little inner library were the body- 
guard of his genius, chosen to be nearest him in the 
outsallyings of his imagination. Here is a little con- 
versational closet, with a window in it to let in the 
leaf-sifted light and air a small recess large enough 
for a couple of chairs or so, which he called a " Speak- 
a-bit" Here is something so near his personality 
that it almost startles you like a sudden apparition 
of himself. It is a glass case containing the clothes 
he last wore on earth the large-buttoned, blue coat, 
the plaid trousers, the broad-brimmed hat, and heavy, 
thick-soled shoes which he had on when he came in 
from his last walk to lay himself down and die. 

On signing my name in the register, I was affected 
at a coincidence which conveyed a tribute of respect 
to the memory of the great author of striking signi- 
ficance, while it recorded the painful catastrophe which 
has broken over upon the American Republic. It was 
a sad sight to me to see the profane and suicidal 
antagonisms which have rent it in twain brought 
to the shrine of this great memory and graven upon 
its sacred tablet as it were with the murdering dagger's 
point. New and bad initials ! The father and patriot 
Washington would have \vept tears of blood to have 



348 A Walk from 

read them here, to have read them anywhere, bearing 
such deplorable meaning. They were U. -S. A. and 
C. S. A., as it were chasing each other up and down 
the pages of the visitors' register. Sad, sad was the 
sight sadder, in a certain sense, than the smoke- 
wreaths of the Tuscarora and Alabama ploughing the 
broad ocean with their keels. U. S. A. and C. S. A. ! 
What initials for Americans to write, with the precious 
memories of a common history and a common weal 
still held to their hearts to write here or anywhere ! 
What a riving and a ruin do those letters record ! 
Still they brought in their severed hands a common 
homage-gift to the memory of the Writer of Abbots- 
ford. If they represented the dissolution of a great 
political fabric, in which they once gloried with equal 
pride, they meant union here a oneness indissoluble 
in admiration for a great genius whose memory can 
no more be localised to a nation than the interest of 
his works. 

American names, both of the North and South, may 
be found on almost every page of the register.. I wrote 
mine next to that of a gentleman from Worcester, 
Mass., my old place of residence, who only left an hour 
before my arrival. Abbotsford and Stratford-upon- 
Avon are points to which our countrymen converge 
in their travels in this country ; and you will find 



London to John C? Groat's. 349 

more of their signatures in the registry of these two 
haloed homesteads of genius than anywhere else in 
Europe. 

The valley of the Tweed in this section is all an 
artist would delight in as a surrounding of such his- 
tories. The hills are lofty, declining into gorges or 
dells at different angles with the river, which they wall 
in precipitously with their wooded sides in many places. 
They are mostly cultivated to the top, and now in 
harvest many of them were crowned with stocked 
sheaves of wheat, each looking in the distance like 
Nature with her golden curls done up in paper, 
dressing for the harvest-home of the season. Some 
of them wore belts and gores of turnip foliage of dif- 
ferent nuances of green luxuriance, combining with 
every conceivable shade and alternation of vegetable 
coloring. Indeed, as already intimated, the view from 
the eminence almost overhanging the little sequestered 
peninsula on which Old Melrose stood twelve centuries 
ago is indescribably beautiful, and well worth a long 
journey to see, disconnected from its historical associa- 
tions. The Eildon Hills towering up heather-crowned 
to the height of over 1,300 feet above the level of the 
sea, right out of the sheen of barley fields, as from a 
sea of silver, form one of the salient features of this 
glorious landscape. This is an interesting peculiarity 



35O A Walk from 

of Scotch scenery ; civilization sapping the barbarism 
of the wilderness ; wheat-fields mordant biting in upon 
peaty moorlands, or climbing to the tops of cold, bald 
mountains, shearing off their thorny locks of heather 
and covering them with the well-dressed chevelnre of 
yellow grain. Where the farmer's horse cannot climb 
with the plough, or the lithe sheep cannot graze to 
advantage, human hands plant the Scotch larch or fir, 
just as a tenant-gardener would set out cabbage-plants 
at odd corners of his little holding which he could have 
no other use for. 

Abbotsferry is just above Abbotsford, and is crossed 
in a small row-boat. The river here is of considerable 
width and quite rapid. The boat was kept on the 
other side ; so I halooed to a man engaged in thatching 
a rick of oats to come and ferry me over. Without 
descending from the ladder, he called to some one in 
the cottage, when, to my surprise, a well-dressed young, 
woman, in rather flowing dress, red jacket, and with 
her hair tastefully done up in a net d-la-modc, made 
her appearance. Descending to the river, she folded 
up her gown, and, setting herself to the oars, " pushed 
her light shallop from the shore" with the grace of The 
Lady of the Lake. In a few minutes she ran the prow 
upon the pebbly beach at my feet, and I took my seat 
at the other end of the boat. She did it all so 



London to John OGroafs. 351 

naturally, and without any other flush upon her 
pleasant face than that of the exercise of rowing, that 
I felt quite easy myself and checked the expression of 
regret I was on the point of uttering for putting her to 
such service. A few questions convinced me it was her 
regular employment, especially when her father was 
busy. I could not help asking her if she had ever 
read " The Lady of the Lake," but found that neither 
that romance nor any other had ever invested her river 
experience with any sensibility except of a cheerful 
duty. She was going to do the whole for a penny, her 
usual charge, but I declined to take back any change 
for the piece of silver I gave to her, intimating 
that I regarded it cheap at that to be rowed over a 
river by such hands. 

Almost opposite to Abbotsford I passed one of the 
best farming establishments I had seen in Scotland. 
I was particularly struck with a feature which will 
hereafter distinguish the steddings or farm buildings 
in Great Britain. Steam has already accomplished 
many changes, and among others one that could hardly 
have been anticipated when it was first applied to com- 
mon uses. It has virtually turned the threshing-floor 
out of doors. Grain growing has become completely 
out-of-door work, from seeding to sending to market. 
The day of building two-story barns for storing and 



35 2 ^ Walk from 

threshing wheat, barley and oats is over, I am per- 
suaded, in this country. A quadrangle of slate-roofed 
cow-sheds, for housing horses and cattle, will displace 
the old-fashioned barns, each with its rood of roof. 
This I saw on crossing the Tweed was quite new, 
and may serve as a model of the housing that will 
come into vogue rapidly. One familiar with New 
England in the " old meeting-house " time, would 
call this establishment a hollow square of horse-sheds, 
without a break or crevice at the angles. 

I reached Galashiels about 5 P.M., and stopped an 
hour for tea. This is a vigorous and thrifty town, 
that makes a profitable and useful business of the 
manufacture of tweeds, tartans and shawls. It is 
situated on the banks of the Grala, a little, rapid, shal- 
low river that joins the Tweed about a mile below. 
After tea I resumed my walk, but, owing to the con- 
fused direction of the landlady, took the wrong side of 
the river, and diverged westward toward Peebles. I 
had made three miles or more in this direction before 
I found out my mistake, so was obliged to return to 
Gralashiels, where I concluded to spend the night, after 
another involuntary excursion more unsatisfactory than 
my walk around Sheffield, inasmuch as I had to travel 
over the same road twice for the whole distance. Thus 
the three mistakes thus far made have cost me twenty 



London to John O Groat's. 353 

miles of extra footing. The next morning I set out in 
good season, determined to reach Edinburgh, if possible, 
by night. 

Followed the Grala Water, as it is called here, just 
as if it were a placid lake or land-locked bay, though 
it is a tortuous and swift-running stream. The scenery 
was still picturesque, in some places very grand and 
romantic. There was one great amphitheatre just 
before reaching the village of Stow which was pecu- 
liarly interesting. It was a great bowl full of earth's 
glory up to the very rim. The circular wall was 
embossed with the best patterns and colors of vegeta- 
tion. The hills of every tournure showed each in a fir 
setting, looking, with their sloping fields of grain, like 
inverted goblets of gold vined with emerald leaf-work. 
In the valley a reaping-machine was at work with its 
peculiar chatter and clatter, and men and women were 
following in its wake, gathering up and binding the 
grain as it fell and clearing the way for the next 
round. Up and down these hills frequently runs a 
stripe of Scotch firs or larches a few rods wide ; here 
and there they resemble those geometrical figures often 
seen in gardens and pleasure grounds. The sun peep- 
ing out of the clouds, and flooding these features with 
a sudden and transient river of light, gives them a 
glow and glory that would delight the artist. After 



354 ^ Walk from 

a long walk through such scenery, I reached, late in 
the evening, Auld Reekie, a favorite home-name which 
the modern Athenians love to give to Edinburgh. 
Being anxious to push on and complete my journey 
as soon as practicable, I only remained in the cele- 
brated Scotch metropolis one night, taking staff early 
next morning, and holding northward toward the 
Highlands. 

Edinburgh has made its mark upon the world and 
its place among the great centres of the world's civili- 
zation. On the whole, no city in Great Britain, or in 
Christendom, has ever attained to such well-developed, 
I will not say angular, but salient individuality. This 
is deep-featured and ineffaceable. It is, not was. 
Edinburgh has reared great men prolifically and sup- 
plied the world with them, and kept always a good 
number back for itself to give a shaping to others the 
world needed. Its prestige is great in the production 
of such intellects. But it keeps up with the times. 
It is faithful to its antecedents, and appreciates them 
at their full value and obligation. It does not lie a-bed 
until noon because it has got its name up for educating 
brilliant minds. Its grand, old University holds its 
own among the wranglers of learning. Its High School 
is proportionately as high as ever, notwithstanding the 
rapid growth of others of the same purpose. Its Pulpit 



London to John O' Croat's. 355 

boasts of its old mind-power and moral stature. Its 
Theology stands iron-cabled, grand and solid as an 
iceberg in the sea of modern speculation, unsoftened 
under the patter of the heterodox sentimentalities of 
human philanthropy. It is growing more and more 
a City of Palaces. And the palaces are all built for 
housing the poorest of the poor, the weakest of the 
weak and the vilest of the vile. These hospitals are 
the Holyroods of Edinburgh II. They honor it witli 
a renown better than the royal palace of the latter 
name ever won. 

I said, Edinburgh the Second. That is correct. 
There are two towns, the Old and the New ; the last 
about half a century's age. But the oldest will be the 
youngest fifty years hence. The hand of a " higher 
civilization," with its spirit-level, pick, plane and trowel 
is upon it with the grip of a Samson. That hand will 
tone down its great distinctive individualities and give 
it the modern unity of design, face and feature. All 
these tall houses, built skyward layer upon layer or 
flat upon flat, until they show half a dozen stories on 
one street, and twice that number on the other, are 
doomed, and they will be done for, one by one in its 
turn. They probably came in with Queen Mary, ami 
they will go out under the blue-oytnl Alexandra. Thoy 
will be supplanted by the most improved architecture 



356 A Walk from 

of modern taste and utilitarianism. Edinburgh will be 
Anglicised and put in the fashionable costume of a pro- 
gressive age ; in the same swallow-tailed coat, figured 
vest and stove-pipe hat worn by London, Liverpool and 
Manchester. It will not be allowed to wear tweed 
pantaloons except for one circumstance ; that it is 
now building its best houses of stone instead of brick. 

But there are physical features that will always dis- 
tinguish Edinburgh from all other cities of the world 
and which no architectural changes can ever obliterate 
or deface. There are Arthur's Seat, Salisbury Crags, 
the Calton Hill, and the Castle Height, and there they 
will stand forever the grandest surroundings and gar- 
niture of Nature ever given to any capital or centre 
of the earth's populations. 



London to John O' Groat's. 



357 



CHAPTEE XVII. 

LOCH LEVJEN ITS ISLAND CASTLE STRATHS PERTH SALMON-BREEDINO 

THOUGHTS ON FISH-FAKMING DUJJKELD BLAIR ATHOLL DUCAL 

TREE-PLANTER STRATHSPEY AND ITS SCENERY THE ROADS 

SCOTCH CATTLE AND SHEEP NIGHT IN A WAYSIDE COTTAGE 

ARRIVAL AT INVERNESS. 

ON Friday, Sept. llth, I left for the north the 
morning after my arrival in Edinburgh, hoping 
to finish my long walk before the rainy season com- 
menced. My old friend and host accompanied me 
across the Forth, l>y the Grranton Ferry, and walked 
with me for some distance on the other side ; then 
bidding me God-speed, he returned to the city. The 
weather was fine, and the farmers were very busy 
at work. A vast quantity of grain, especially of oats, 
was cut and ready for carting ; but little of it had 
been ricked in consequence of frequent showers. I 
noticed that they used a diiferent snath for their 
scythes here from that common in England. It is 
in two parts, like the handles of a plough, joining 
a foot or two above the blade. One is shorter than 
the other, each having a thole. It is a singular con- 



358 A Walk from 

trivance, but seems to be preferred here to the old 
English pole. I have never seen yet an American 
scythe-snath in England or Scotland, although so 
much of our implemental machinery has been intro- 
duced. American manure-forks and hay-forks, axes 
and augurs you will now find exposed for sale in 
nearly every considerable town, but one of our beauti- 
fully mounted scythes would be a great novelty here. 

The scenery varies, but retains the peculiarly Scotch 
features. Hills which we should call mountains are 
frequently planted with trees as far up as the soil 
will lie upon the precipitous sides. On passing one 
of great height, bald at the top, but bearded to the 
eyebrows with fir and larch, I asked an elderly man, 
a blacksmith, standing in his shop door, if they were 
a natural growth. He said that he and his two 
boys planted them all about forty-eight years ago. 
They were now worth, on an average, twelve English 
shillings, or about three dollars apiece. 

I lodged in Kinross, a pleasant-faced, quiet and 
comfortable little town, done up with historical asso- 
ciations of special interest. Here is Loch Leven, 
serene and placid, like a mirror framed with wooded 
hills, looking at their faces in it. It is a beautiful 
sheet of water, taking the history out of it. But 
putting that in and around it, you see a picture 



London to John O* Groat's. 



359 



before you that you will remember. Here is more 
of Mary the Unfortunate. You see reflected in the 
silver sheen of the lake that face which looks at you 
with its soft appeal for sympathy in all the galleries 
of Christendom. Out there, on that little islet, green 
and low, stands the black castle in which they prisoned 
her. There they made her trembling, indignant fingers 
write herself " a queen without a crown." South- 
ward there, where amateurs now fish for trout, young 
Douglas rowed her ashore with muffled oars so softly 
that they stirred no ripple at the bow. The keys of 
the castle they threw into the lake to bar pursuit 
lay in the mud for nearly three centuries, when they 
were found by a lad of the village, and presented 
to the Earl of Morton, a representative of the Douglas 
family. 

, The next day I walked on to Perth, passing through 
a very interesting section, which nature and history 
have enriched with landscapes and manscapes manifold. 
It is truly a romantic region for both these qualities, 
with delightful views in sudden and frequent alterna- 
tion. Gflens deep, winding and dark, with steep 
mountain walls folding their tree-hands over the road ; 
lofty hills in full Scotch uniform, in tartan heather and 
yellow grain plaided in various figures ; chippering 
streams, now hidden, now coming to the light, in white 



360 A Walk from 

flashing foam in a rocky glade of the dell ; straths or 
savannas, like great prairie gardens, threaded by mean- 
dering rivers and studded with wheat in sheaves, shocks 
and ricks, seen over long reaches of unreapt harvests ; 
villages, hamlets, white cottages nestling in the niches 
and green gorges of the mountains, and all these 
sceneries set in romantic histories dating back to the 
Danes and their doings in Scotland, make up a prevista 
for the eye and a revista for the mind that keep both in 
exhilarating occupation every rod of the distance from 
Kinross to Perth. 

The road via Grlenfarg would be a luxury of the 
first enjoyment to any tourist with an eye to the wild, 
romantic and picturesque. Debouching from this long, 
winding, tree-arched dell, you come out upon Strathearn, 
or the bottom-land of the river Earn, which joins the 
Tay a few miles below. The term strath is peculiarly 
a Scottish designation which many American readers 
may not have fully comprehended, although it is so 
blended with the history and romance of this country. 
It is not a valley proper as we use that term, as the 
Valley of the Mississippi or the Valley of the Connecti- 
cut. If the word were admissible, it might be called 
most descriptively the land-bay of a river, at a certain 
distance between its source and mouth, such for 
instance as the Grerman Flats on the Mohawk or the 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 361 

Oxbow on the Connecticut, at "Wetliersfield, in Vermont, 
or the great onion-growing Hat on the same river 
at Wethersfield in Connecticut. These straths are 
numerous in Scotland, and constitute the great pro- 
ductive centres of the mountain sections. They are 
generally cultivated to the highest perfection of agricul- 
tural science and economy and are devoted mostly to 
grain. As they are always walled in by bald-headed 
mountains and lofty hills, cropped as high as man and 
horse can climb with a plough and planted with firs 
and larches beyond, they show beautifully to the eye, 
and constitute, with these surroundings, the peculiar 
charm of Scotch scenery. The term is always prefixed 
to the name of the river, as Strathearn, Strathspey, &c. 
I noticed on this day's walk the same singular habit 
that struck me in the north part of Yorkshire ; that is, 
of cutting inward upon the standing grain. Several 
persons, frequently women and boys, follow the mowers, 
and pick up the swath and bind it into sheaves, using 
no rake at all in the process. So pertinaciously they 
seem to adhere to this remarkable and awkward custom, 
that I saw two mowers walk down a hill, a distance of 
full a hundred rods, with their scythes under their arms, 
in order to begin a new swath in the same way, four or 
five men and women run n ing after them full tilt to 
bind the grain as it i'ell ! Here \vas a loss of at least 



362 A Walk from 

five minutes each to half a dozen hands, amounting to 
half an hour to a single man at the end of each swath 
or work. Supposing the mowers made twenty in ten 
hours from bottom to top of the field, here is the loss 
of one whole day for one man, or one sixth of the 
whole aggregate time applied to the harvesting of the 
crop, given to the mere running down that hill of six 
pairs of legs for no earthly purpose but to cut inward 
instead of outward, as we do. The grain-ricks in 
Scotland are nearly all round and quite small. Every 
one of them is rounded up at the top and fitted with a 
Mandarin-looking hat of straw, which sheds the rain 
well. A good- sized farm-house is flanked with quite 
a village of these little round stacks, looking like a 
comfortable colony of large, yellow tea-caddies in the 
distance. 

Beached Perth a little after dark, having made a 
walk of nearly twenty miles after 11 A.M. Here I 
remained over the Sabbath, and greatly enjoyed both 
its rest and the devotional exercises in some of the 
churches of the city. 

The Fair City of Perth is truly most beautifully 
situated at the head of navigation on the Tay as 
Stirling is on the Forth. It has no mountainous 
eminence in its midst, castle-crowned, like Stirling, 
from which to look off upon such a scene as the latter 



London to John O'Groafs. 363 

commands. But Nature has erected grand and lofty 
observatories near by in the Moncrieffe and Kinnoull 
Hills, from which a splendid prospect is unrolled to the 
eye. There is some historical or legendary authority 
for the idea that the Homans contemplated this view 
from Moncrieffe Hill ; and, as the German army re- 
turning homeward from France, shouted with wild 
enthusiasm, at its first sight, Dcr Rhein ! Der Rhein ! 
so these soldiers of the Csesars shouted at the view of 
the Tay and the Corse of Growrie, Ecce Tiber ! Ecce 
Campus Martins ! There was more patriotism than 
parity in the comparison. The Italian river is a Rhine 
in history, but a mere Groose Creek within its actual 
banks compared with the Tay. In history Perth has 
its full share of " love and murder," rhyme and 
romance, sieges, battering and burning, royals and 
rebels. In the practical life of to-day, it is a pro- 
gressive, thriving town, busy, intelligent, respected and 
honorable. The two natural features which would 
attract, perhaps, the most special attention of the tra- 
veller are the two Inches, North and South, divided 
by the city. This is a peculiar Scotch term which an 
untravelled American will hardly understand. It has 
no relation to measurement of any kind ; but signifies 
what we should call a low, level green or common in or 
adjoining a town. The Inches of Perth are, to my 



364 A Walk from 

eye, the finest in Scotland, each being about a mile 
and a half in circumference, and making delightful 
and healthy playgrounds and promenades for the whole 
population. 

On Monday, Sept. llth, I took staff and set out for 
another week-stage of my walk, or from Perth to 
Inverness. Crossed the Tay and proceeded northward 
up the east side of that fertile river. Fertile may 
sound at first a singular qualification for a broad, rapid 
stream running down out of the mountains and widen- 
ing into a bay or firth at its mouth. But it may be 
applied in the best sense of production to the Tay ; and 
not only that, but other terms known to practical agri- 
culture. Up to the present moment, no river in the 
world has been cultivated with more science and success. 
None has been sown so thickly with seed-vitalities or 
produced more valuable crops of aquatic life. Here 
salmon are hatched by hand and folded and herded 
with a shepherd's care. Here pisciculture, or, to use a 
far better and more euphonious word, fish-farming, is 
carried to the highest perfection in Great Britain. It 
is a tillage that must hereafter take its place with 
agriculture as a great and honored industry. If the 
cold, bald-headed mountains, the wild, stony reaches of 
poverty-stricken regions, moor, morass, steppe and 
prairie are made the pasturage of sheep innumerable, 



London to John O'Groafs. 365 

the thousands of rivers in both hemispheres will not 
be suffered to run to waste through another century. 
The utilitarian genius of the present age will turn 
them into pasturage worth more per acre than the 
value of the richest land on their banks. Just think 
of the pasturage of the Tay. It rents for 14,000 
a year ; and those who hire it must make it produce 
at least 50,000, or $240,000 annually. Let us assume 
that the whole length of this salmon-pasturage is fifty 
miles, and its average width one-eighth of a mile. Then 
the whole distance would contain the space of 4,000 
square acres, and the annual rent for fishing would 
amount to over 3 13s. per acre. This would make 
every fish-bearing acre of the river worth 100, calcu- 
lated on the land basis of interest or rent. 

Having heard of the Stormontfields' Ponds for 
Breeding Salmon, I had a great desire to see them. 
They are situated on the Tay, a few miles above Perth, 
and are well worthy of the inspection and admiration 
of the scientific as well as the utilitarian world. The 
process is as simple as it is successful and valuable. 
A .race or canal, filled with a clear mountain stream, 
and constructed many years ago to supply motive 
power to a corn-mill, runs parallel with the river, at 
the distance from it of about twenty rods. At right 
angles with this stream, there are twenty-five wooden 



366 A Walk from 

boxes side by side, about fifty feet in length, placed 
on a slight decline. These boxes or troughs, each 
about two feet wide and one foot deep, are divided 
into partitions by cross- boards, which do not reach, 
within a few inches, the top of the siding, so that 
the water shall make a continuous surface the whole 
length of the trough. Each trough is filled with 
round, river stones or pebbles washed clean, on which 
the spawn is laid. The water is let out of the mill- 
race upon these troughs through a wire-cloth filter, 
covering them about two inches deep above the stones. 
At the bottom, a lateral channel or race, running at 
right angles to the troughs, conducts the waste water 
in a rapid, bubbling stream down into the feeding 
pond, which covers the space of about one-fifth of an 
acre, close to the river, with which it is connected 
by a narrow race gated also with a wire-cloth, to pre- 
vent the little living mites from being carried off 
before their time. 

This may serve to give the reader some approximate 
idea of the construction of the fish-fold. The next 
process is the stocking it with the breeding ewes of the 
sea and river. The female salmon is caught in the 
spawning season with a net, and the ova are expressed 
from her by passing the hand gently down the bod} r , 
when she is again put into the river to go on her way. 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 367. 

The manager told me that they generally reckoned 
upon a thousand eggs to a pound of the salmon caught. 
Thus fourteen good-sized fish would stock the twenty- 
five troughs. When hatched, the little things run 
down into the race-way which carries them into the 
feeding pond. Here they are fed twice daily, with five 
pounds of beef's liver pulverised. They remain in this 
water-yard from April to autumn, when the gate is 
raised and they are let out into the river. And it is a 
very singular and interesting fact that those only go 
which have got their sea-coats on them, or have reached 
the " smolt " character. The smaller fry remain in 
the pond until, as it has been said in higher circles of 
society, their beards are grown, or, in their case, until 
their scales are grown, to fit them for the rough and 
tumble of salt-water life. 

The growth of the little bull-headed mites after 
being turned into the river-pasture is wonderful more 
rapid than that of lambs of the Southdown breed. The 
keeper had marked some of them, on letting them out, 
by clipping the dorsal fin. On being caught six or eight 
months afterward, they weighed from five to seven pounds 
against half a pound each when sent forth to take care 
of themselves. The proprietors of the fisheries defray 
the expense of this breeding establishment, being taxed 
only two-pence in the pound of their rental. This, of 



368 A Walk from 

course, they get back with large interest and profit 
from the tenant-farmers of the river. As a proof of the 
enhanced production of the Tay fisheries under this 
cultivation the fact will suffice, that they now rent for 
14,000 a year against 11,000 under the old system. 

Salmon-breeding is doubtless destined to rank with 
sheep-culture and cattle-culture in the future. The 
remotest colonies of Great Britain are moving in the 
matter with vigor and almost enthusiasm. Vessels 
have been constructed on purpose to convey this fair 
and mottled stock of British rivers to those of Australia 
and New Zealand. In France, fish-farming has become 
a large and lucrative occupation. I hope our own 
countrymen, who plume themselves on going a-head in 
utilitarian enterprises, will show the world what they 
can do in this. Surely our New England men, who 
claim to lead in American industries and ingenuities, 
will not suffer half a million acres of river-pasturage to 
run to waste for another half century, when it would fold 
and feed millions of salmon. Once they herded in the 
Connecticut in such multitudes that a special stipula- 
tion was inserted in the indentures of apprentices in the 
vicinity of the river that they should not be obliged to eat 
salmon more than a certain number of times in a week. 
Now, if a salmon is caught between the mouth and 
source of the river, it is blazoned forth in the news- 



London to John OGroafs. 369 

papers as a very extraordinary and unnatural event. 
There is no earthly reason why the Connecticut should 
not breed and supply as great a number of these excellent 
and beautiful fish as the Tay. Its waters are equally 
pure and quiet as those of the Scotch river. Every 
acre of the Connecticut, from the northernmost bridge 
that spans it in Vermont to its debouchment at Say- 
brook, might be made productive of as great a value 
as any onion-garden acre at Wethersfield. 

The salmon-shepherd of Storniontfields having fully 
explained the labors and duties of his charge, rowed 
me across the Tay, and I continued my walk highly 
gratified in having seen one of the new industries 
which this age is adding to the different cultures pro- 
vided for the sustentation and comfort of human life. 
The whole way to Dunkeld was full of interest, nature 
and history making every mile a scene to delight the 
eye and exhilarate the mind. The first considerable 
village I passed through was Stanley, which gives 
the name to that old family of British peers known 
in history by the battle-cry of a badly-pressed sove- 
reign, " On, Stanley, on ! " Murthley Castle, the seat 
of Sir William Stewart, and the beautiful grounds 
which front and surround it, will excite the admira- 
tion of the traveller and pay him well for a moment's 
pause to peruse its illuminated pages opened to his 
2 B 



370 A Walk from 

view. The baronet is regarded as an eccentric man, 
perhaps chiefly because he has built a splendid Roman 
Catholic chapel quite near to his mansion and supports 
a priest of that order mostly for his own spiritual good. 
Near Dunkeld, Birnam Hill lifts its round, dark, bushy 
head to the height of over 1,500 feet, grand and grim, 
as if it wore the bonnet of Macbeth and hid his dagger 
beneath its tartan cloak of firs. "Birnam Wood," 
which Shakespeare's genius has made one of the im- 
mortals among earthly localities, was the setting of 
that hill in his day, and perhaps centuries before it. 
Crossing the Tay by a magnificent bridge, you are 
in the famous old city and capital of ancient Caledonia, 
Dunkeld. Here centre some of the richest rivulets 
of Scotch history, ecclesiastical and military, of church 
and state, cowl and crown. Walled in here, on the 
upper waters of the Tay, by dark and heavily-wooded 
mountains, it was just the place for the earliest monks 
to select as the site of one of their cloistered commu- 
nities. The two best saints ever produced by these 
islands, St. Columba and St. Cuthbert, are said to 
have been connected with the religious foundations of 
this little sequestered city. The old cathedral, having 
been knocked about like other Roman Catholic edifices 
in the sledge-hammer crusades of the Reformation, was 
ruined very picturesquely, as a tourist, with one of 



London to John C? Croat's. 371 

Murray's red book guides in his baud, would be likely 
to say. But tbe choir was rebuilt and fitted up for 
worship by the late Duke of Atholl at the expense 
of about 5,000. 

Of this duke I must say a few words, for he has left 
the greenest monument to his memory that a man ever 
left over his grave. He did something more and better 
than roofing the choir of a ruined cathedral. He roofed 
a hundred hills and valleys with a larch-and-fir-work 
that will make them as glorious and beautiful as Lebanon 
forever. One of the most illustrious and eloquent of 
the Iroquois aristocracy was a chief called Corn-planter. 
This Duke of Atholl should be named and known for 
evermore as the great Tree-planter of Christendom. 
We have already dwelt upon the benefaction that such 
a man leaves to coming generations. This Scotch 
nobleman virtually founded a new order of knighthood 
far more useful and honorable than the Order of the 
Grarter. To talk of garters f why, he not only put 
the cold, ragged, shivering hills of Scotland into garters, 
but into stockings waist high, and doublets and bonnets 
and shoes of beautifully green and thick fir-plaid. He 
planted 11,000 square acres with the larch alone ; and 
thousands of these acres stood up edgewise against 
mountains and hills so steep that the planters must 
have spaded the holes with ropes around their waists 
2 B 2 



372 A V/alk from 

to keep them from falling down the precipice. It is 
stated that he had twenty-seven millions of the larch 
alone planted on his mountainous estates, besides seve- 
ral millions of other trees. Now, it is doubtful if the 
whole region thus dibbled with this tree-crop yielded 
an average rental of one English shilling per acre as a 
pasturage for sheep. On passing through miles and 
miles of this magnificent wood-grain and taking an 
estimate of its value, I put it at 10s., or $2 40c. per tree. 
Of the twenty-seven millions of larches thus planted, 
ten must be worth that sum ; making alone, without 
counting the rest, 5,000,000, or $24,000,000. It is 
quite probable that the larches, firs and other trees now 
covering the Atholl estates would sell for 10,000,000 
if brought to the hammer. But he was not only the 
greatest arboriculturist in the world, but the founder of 
tree-farming as a productive industry as well as a deco- 
rative art. Already it has transformed the Highlands 
of Scotland and trebled their value as well as clothed 
them with a new and beautiful scenery. What we call 
the Scotch larch was not originally a native of that 
country. Close to the cathedral in Dunkeld stand the 
two patriarchs of the family first introduced into Scot- 
land from Switzerland in 1737. 

Having remained the best part of two days in Dun- 
keld, I held on northward through heavily-shaded and 



London to John (J Groat's. 373 

winding glen and valley to Blair Atholl. For the 
whole distance of twenty miles the country is quite 
Alpine, wild and grand, with mountains larched or firred 
to the utmost reach and tenure of soil for roots ; deep, 
dark gorges pouring down into the narrowing river 
their foamy, dashing streams ; mansions planted here 
and there on sloping lawns showing sunnily through 
groves and parks ; now a hamlet of cottages set in the 
side of a lofty hill, now a larger village opening sud- 
denly upon you at the turning of the turnpike road. 
I reached Blair Atholl at about dark, and lodged at 
the largest hotel I slept in between London and John 
O'Groat's. It is virtually the tourist's inn ; for this is 
the centre of some of the most interesting and striking 
sceneries and localities in Scotland. Grlens, waterfalls, 
stream, torrent, mountain and valley, with their roman- 
tic histories, make this a very attractive region to thou- 
sands of summer travellers from England and other 
countries. The railway from Perth to Inverness via 
Dunkeld and Blair Atholl has just opened up this 
secluded Scotch Switzerland to multitudes who never 
would have seen it without the help of the iron horse. 
A month previous, this point had been the most distant 
in Scotland from steam-routes of transportation and 
travel. Now southern sportsmen were hiring up " the 
shootings " for many miles on both sides of the line, 



374 A Walk Jrom 

making the hills and glens echo with their fusilades. 
Blair Castle, the duke's mansion, is a very ordinary 
building in appearance, looking from the public road 
like a large four-story factory painted white, with 
small, old-fashioned windows. He himself was lying 
in a very painful and precarious condition, with a cancer 
in the throat, from which it was the general impression 
that he never would recover. The day preceding, the 
Queen had visited him, while en route for Balmoral, 
having gone sixty miles out of her way to comfort him 
with such an expression of her sympathy. 

The next day I reached the northern boundary of the 
Duke of Atholl's estate, having walked for full forty 
miles almost continuously through it. Passed over a very 
bleak, treeless, barren waste of mountain and moorland, 
most of it too rocky or soilless for even heather. The 
dashing, flashing little Garry, which I had followed for 
a day or two, thinned and narrowed down to a noisy 
brook as I ascended towards its source. For a long 
distance the country was exceedingly wild and desolate. 
Terrible must be the condition of a man benighted there- 
in, especially in winter. There were standing beacons 
all along the road for miles to indicate the track when 
it was buried in drifting snows. These were painted 
posts, about six or eight feet high, planted on the rocky, 
river side of the road, at a few rods interval, to guide 



London to John O' Groat's. 375 

the traveller and keep him from dashing over the 
concealed precipices. About the middle of the after- 
noon I reached the summit of the two water-sheds, 
where a horse's hoof might so dam a balancing stream 
as to send it southward into the Tay or northward into 
the Moray Firth. Soon a rivulet welled out in the 
latter direction with a decided current. It was the 
Spey. A few miles brought me suddenly into a little, 
glorious world of beauty. The change of theatrical 
sceneries could hardly have produced a more sudden and 
striking contrast than this presented to the wild, cold, 
dark waste through which I had been travelling for 
a day. It was Strathspey ; and I doubt if there is 
another view in Scotland, of the same dimensions, to 
equal it. It was indescribably grand and beautiful, 
if you could blend the meaning of these two commonly- 
coupled adjectives into one qualification, as you can 
blend two colors on the easel. To get the full enjoyment 
of the scene at one draught, you should enter it first 
from the south, after having travelled for twenty miles 
without seeing a sheaf of wheat or patch of vegetation 
tilled by the hand of man. I know nothing in America 
to compare it with or to help the American reader 
to an approximate idea of it. Imagine a land-lake, 
apparently shut in completely by a circular wall of 
mountains of every stature, the tallest looking over 



376 A Walk from 

the shoulders of the lower hills, like grand giants 
standing in steel helmets and green doublets and 
gilded corslets, to see the soft and quiet beauty of 
the valley sleeping under their watch and ward. As 
the sun-bursts from the strath-skies above darted out 
of their shifting cloud-walls and flashed a flush of 
light upon the solemn brows of these majestic apostles 
of nature one by one, they stood haloed, like the 
favored saints in Scripture in the overflow of the 
Transfiguration. It was just the kind of day to make 
the scene glorious indescribably. The clouds and sky 
were in the happiest disposition for the brilliant plays 
and pictures of light and shade, and dissolving views 
of fascinating splendor succeeded and surpassed each 
other at a minute's interval. Now the great land- 
lake, on whose bosom floated in the sunlight a thousand 
islands oat-and-barley-gilded, and rimmed with the 
green and purple verdure of the turnip and ruta-baga, 
was all set a-glow by a luminous flood from the opening 
clouds above. The next moment they closed this dis- 
parted seam in their drapery, and opened a side one 
upon the still, grave faces of the surrounding moun- 
tains ; and, for a few minutes, the smile went round 
from one to the other, and the great centurions of 
the hills looked happy and almost human in the gleam. 
Then shade's turn came in the play, and it played 



London to John O 'Groat's. 377 

its part as perfectly as light. It put in the touch 
of the old Italian masters, giving an ever-changing 
background to all the sublime pictures of the panorama. 
I was not alone in the enjoyment of this scenery. 
For the first time in this Walk I had a companion 
for a day. A clergyman from near Edinburgh joined 
me at Kingussie, with whom I shared the luxury 
of one of the most splendid views to be found in Scot- 
land. Indeed, few minds are so constituted as to 
prefer to see such natural gloryscapes alone. After 
a day's walk among these sceneries, we came to the 
small village of Aviemore in the dusk of the evening. 
Here we found that the only inn had been closed 
and turned into a private residence, and that it was 
doubtful if a bed could be had for love or money 
in the place. The railway through it to Inverness had 
just been opened, and the navvies seemed still to con- 
stitute the largest portion of the population. Neither 
of us had eaten any dinner, and we were hungry as 
well as tired. Seeing a little, low cottage near the 
railroad, with the sign of something for the public 
good over the door, we went to it, and found that 
it had two rooms, one a kind of rough, stone-floored 
shed, the other an apartment full ten feet square, 
with two beds in it, which occupied half the entire 
space. But small as it was, the good man and woman 



378 A Walk from 

made the most of it in the way of entertainment, 
getting up a tea occasionally for persons stopping 
over in the village at a meal -time, also selling small 
articles of grocery to the laborers. Every thing was 
brought from a distance, even their bread, bacon and 
butter. Their stock of these fundamentals was ex- 
hausted, so that they could not give us anything 
with our tea until the arrival of the train from the 
north, which we all watched with common interest. 
In the course of half an hour it came, and soon our 
cabin-landlord brought in a large basket full of the 
simplest necessaries of life, which we were quite pre- 
pared to enjoy as its best luxuries. Soon a wood 
fire blazed for us in the double-bedded parlor, and the 
unpainted deal table was spread in the fire-light with 
a repast we relished with a pleasant appreciation. 

My companion was bound northward by the next 
train in that direction, and was sure to find good 
quarters for the night ; but as there was not an inn 
for ten miles on the route I was to travel, and as it 
was now quite night and the road mostly houseless and 
lonely, I felt some anxiety about my own lodging. 
But on inquiry I was very glad to find that one of 
the two beds in the room was unoccupied and at 
my disposal. So, having accompanied my fellow- 
traveller to the station and seen him off with mutual 



London to John O Groat's. 379 

good wishes, I returned to the cottage, and the mistress 
replenished the fire with a new supply of chips and 
faggots, and I had two or three hours of rare enjoy- 
ment, enhanced by some interesting books I found on 
a shelf by the window. And this is a fact worthy of 
note and full of good meaning. You will seldom find 
a cottage in Scotland, however poor and small, without 
a shelf of books in it. I retired rather earlier than 
iisual ; but before I fell asleep, the two regular lodgers, 
who occupied the other bed, came in softly, and spoke 
in a suppressed tone, as if reluctant to awaken me. 
And here I was much impressed with another fact 
affiliated with the one I have mentioned that of 
praying as well as reading in the Scotch cottage. 
After a little conversation just above a whisper, the 
elder of the two and he not twenty, while the other 
was apparently only sixteen first read, with full Scotch 
accent, one of the hard-rhymed psalms used in the 
Scotch service. Then, after a short pause, he read with 
a low, solemn voice a chapter in the Bible. A few 
minutes of silence succeeded, as if a wordless prayer 
was going upward upon the still wings of thought, 
which made no audible beating in their flight. It was 
very impressive ; an incident that I shall ever hold 
among the most interesting of all I met with on my 
walk. They were not brothers evidently, but most 



380 A Walk from 

likely strangers thrown together on the railroad. They 
doubtless came from different directions, but, from 
Highlands or Lowlands, they came out of Bible- 
lighted homes, whose " voices of the night " were 
blended with the breathings of religious life and 
instruction. Separated from such homes, they had 
agreed to make this one after the same spiritual 
pattern, barring the parental presence and teaching. 

The next day after breakfast, took leave of my 
kind, cottage hosts, exchanging good wishes for mutual 
happiness. Went out of the amphitheatre of Strath- 
spey by a gateway into another surrounded by 
mountains less lofty and entirely covered with heather. 
For several miles beyond Carr Bridge I passed over 
the wildest moorland. The road was marked by posts 
about ten feet high, painted white within two feet of the 
top and black above. These are planted about fifteen 
rods apart, to guide the traveller in the drifting and 
blinding snows of winter. The road over this cold, 
desolate waste exceeded anything I ever saw in 
America, even in the most fashionable suburbs of New 
York and Boston. It was as smooth and hard as a 
cement floor. Here on this treeless wild I met several 
men at work trimming the edges of the road by a line, 
with as much precision and care as if they were laying 
out an aisle in a flower-garden. After a walk of about 






London to John O* Groat's. 381 

seventeen miles I reached Freeburn Inn about the 
middle of the afternoon, and as it began to rain and to 
threaten bad weather for walking, I concluded to stop 
there for the night, and found good quarters. 

The rain continued in showers, and I feared I should 
be unable to reach Inverness to spend the sabbath. 
There was a cattle fair at the inn, and a considerable 
number of farmers and dealers came together notwith- 
standing the weather. Indeed, there were nearly as 
many men and boys as animals on the ground. A score 
or more had come in each leading or driving a single 
cow or calf. The cattle generally were evidently of 
the Graelic origin and antecedents little, chubby, 
scraggy creatures, of all colors, but mostly black, with 
wide-branching horns longer than their fore-legs. 
Their hair is long and as coarse as a polar seal's, 
and they look as if they knew no more of housing 
against snow, rain and wintry winds, or of a littered 
bed, than the buffaloes beyond the upper waters of the 
Missouri. One would be inclined to think they had 
lived from calf hood on nothing but heather or gorse, 
and that the prickly fodder had penetrated through 
their hides and covered them with a growth midway 
between hair and bristles. They will not average 
over 350 Ibs. when dressed ; still they seem to hold 
their own among other breeds which have attracted 



382 A Walk from 

so much attention. This is probably because they can 
browse out a living where the Durham and Devon 
would starve. 

The sheep in this region are chiefly the old Scotch 
breed, with curling horns and crocked faces and legs, such 
as are represented in old pictures. The black seems to 
be spattered upon them, and looks as if the heather would 
rub it off. The wool is long and coarse, giving them a 
goat-like appearance. They seem to predominate over 
any other breed in this part of Scotland, yet not neces- 
sarily nor advantageously. A large sheep farmer from 
England was staying at the inn, with whom I had much 
conversation on the subject. He said the Cheviots were 
equally adapted to the Highlands, and thought they 
would ultimately supplant the black faces. Although 
he lived in Northumberland, full two hundred miles to 
the south, he had rented a large sheep-walk, or moun- 
tain-farm, in the Western Highlands, and had come 
to this section to buy or hire another tract. He kept 
about 4,000 sheep, and intended to introduce the 
Cheviots upon these Scotch holdings, as their bodies 
were much heavier and their wool worth nearly double 
that of the old black-faced breed. Sheep are the prin- 
cipal source of wealth in the whole of the North and 
West of Scotland. I was told that sometimes a flock 
of 20,000 is owned by one man. The lands on which 



London to John O'Groafs. 383 

they are pastured will not rent above one or two Eng- 
lish shillings per acre ; and a flock even of 1,000 requires 
a vast range, as may be indicated by the reply of a 
Scotch farmer to an English one, on being asked by 
the latter, " How many sheep do you allow to the 
acre?" "Ah, mon," was the answer, "that's nae 
the way we count in the Highlands ; it's how monie 
acres to the sheep." 

At about two p.m., the showers becoming less fre- 
quent, I set out with the hope of reaching Inverness 
before night. The wind was high, the road muddy, 
or dirty, as the English call that condition ; and the 
rain frequently compelled me to seek shelter in some 
wayside cottage, or under the fir-trees that were 
planted in groves on each side at narrow intervals. 
The walking was heavy and slow in face of the fre- 
quent showers and a strong gale from the north-east, 
so that I was exceedingly glad to reach an inn within 
four miles of Inverness, where I promised myself 
comfortable lodgings for the night. It was a rather 
large, but comfortless-looking house, evidently con- 
centrating all its entertainment for travellers in the 
tap-room. After considerable hesitation, the landlady 
consented to give me bed and board ; and directed 
" the lassie " to make a fire for me in a large and very 
respectable room on the second floor. I soon began 



384 A Walk from 

to feel quite at home by its side. My boots had leaked 
on the way and my feet were very wet and cold ; and 
it was with a pleasant sense of comfort that I changed 
stockings, and warmed myself at the ruddy grate, while 
the storm seemed to increase without. After waiting 
about an hour for tea, I heard the lassie's heavy footstep 
on the stairs ; a knock the door opens now for the 
tray and the steaming tea-pot, and happy vision of 
bread, oatcake and Scotch scons ! Alas ! what a 
falling-off was there from this delicious expectation ! ( 
The lassie had brought a severe and peremptory 
message from the master, who had just returned home. 
And she delivered it commiseratingly but decidedly. 
She was to tell me from him that there was nothing 
in the house to set before me ; that the fair the day 
before had eaten out the whole stock of his provisions ; 
in short, that I was to take my staff and walk on to 
Inverness. It was in vain that I remonstrated, pleaded 
and urged wet feet, the darkness, the wind and rain. 
"It is so," said the lassie, "and can't be otherwise." 
She tried to encourage me to the journey by shortening 
the distance by half its actual miles, saying it was only 
two, when it was full four, and they of the longest kind. 
So I went out into the night in my wet clothes, and 
put the best face and foot to the head-wind and rain 
that I could bring to bear against them. Both were 



London to John C? Groat's. 



385 



strong, beating and drenching ; and it was so dark 
that I could hardly see the road. In the course of 
half an hour, I made the lassie's two miles, and in 
another, the whole of the actual distance, and found 
comfortable quarters in one of the temperance inns 
of Inverness, reaching it between nine and ten at 
night. Here I spent a quiet sabbath, which I greatly 
enjoyed. 



2 c 



386 A Walk from 



CHAPTEE XVIII. 



INVERNESS ; ROSS-SHIRE ; TAIN ; DORNOCH ; GOLSPIE PROGRESS OF RAIL- 
ROADS THE SUTHERLAND EVICTION SEA-COAST SCENERY CAITH- 
NESSWICK : HERRING FISHERIES JOHN O'GROAT'S : WALK'S END. 



INYEENESS is an interesting, good-sized town, with 
an intellectual and pleasing countenance, of some- 
what aristocratic and self-complacent expression. It is 
considered the capital of the Highlands and wears a 
decidedly metropolitan air. It is well situated on the 
Ness, just at its debouchment into the Moray Firth, a 
river that runs with a Ehine-like current through the 
town and is spanned with a grand suspension bridge. 
It has streets of city-built and city-bred buildings, 
showing wealth and elegance. Several edifices are in 
process of erection that will rank with some of the best 
in Edinburgh and Glasgow. It has a long and pre- 
tentious history, reaching back to the Eomans, and 
dashed with the romance of the wild ages of the coun- 
try. Oliver Cromwell, or Sledgehammer II,. Macbeth 9 
Thane of Cawdor, Queen Mary, Prince Charlie, and 



London to John Cf Groat's. 387 

other historical celebrities, entered their names and 
doings on the records of this goodly town. 

On Monday, September 21st, I set out with a good 
deal of animation on the last week-stage of my journey, 
which I was anxious to accomplish as soon as possible, 
as the weather was becoming unsettled with frequent 
rain. Beached Invergordon, passing through a most 
interesting section of country, full of very fertile straths. 
It was the part of Ross-shire lying on the Moray and 
Beauly Firths and divided by rivers dashing down 
through the wooded gorges of the mountains. I saw 
here some of the most productive land in Scotland. 
Hundreds of acres were studded with wheat and barley 
stooks, and about an equal space was covered with 
standing grain, though so near the month of October. 
Plantations, parks, gentlemens' seats, glens deep and 
grand, fir-clad mountains, villages, hamlets and scat- 
tered cottages made up the features of every changing 
view. Indeed, one travelling for a week between Perth 
and Inverness comes upon such a region as this with 
pleasant surprise, as upon an exotic section, imported 
from another latitude. 

The next day I held on northward, though the 

weather was very unfavorable and the walking heavy 

and fatiguing. Passed what seemed the bold and ridgy 

island of Cromarty, so associated with the venerated 

2 c2 



388 A Walk from 

memory of Hugh Miller. The beating rain drove 
me frequently to the wayside cottages for shelter ; 
and in every one of them I was received with kind 
words and pleasant looks. One of these was occupied 
by an old woman in the regular Scotch cap a vener- 
able old saint, with her Bible and psalm-book library 
on her window-sill, and her peat fire burning cheerily. 
When on leaving I intimated that I was from America, 
she followed me out into the road, asking me a hundred 
questions about the country and its condition. She 
had three sons in Montreal, and felt a mother's interest 
in the very name America. The cottage was one 
of a long street of them by the sea-side, and I supposed 
it was a fishing village ; but I learned from her that the 
people were mostly the evicted tenants of the Duke 
of Sutherland, who were turned out of his county some 
thirty years ago to make room for sheep. I made 
only eleven miles this day on account of the rain, and 
was glad to find cheery and comfortable quarters in an 
excellent inn kept by a widow and her three daughters 
in Tain. Nothing could exceed their kindness and 
attention, which evidently flowed more from a dis- 
position than from a professional habit of making 
their guests at home for a pecuniary or business con- 
sideration. I reached their house about the middle 
of the afternoon, cold and wet, after several hours' 



London to John O' Groat's. 389 

walk in the rain, and was received as one of the family ; 
the eldest daughter, who had all the grace and intelli- 
gence of a cultivated lady, helping me off with my wet 
overcoat, and even offering to pull off my water-soaked 
boots an office no American could accept, and which I 
gently declined, taking the will for the deed. A large 
number of Scotch navvies were at the inns of the town, 
making an obstreperous auroval in celebration of the 
monthly pay-day. They had received the day pre- 
ceding a month's wages, and they were now drinking 
up their money with the most reckless hilarity ; swal- 
lowing the pay of five long hours at the pick in a 
couple of gills of whiskey. How strange that men 
can work in rain, cold and heat at the shovel for a 
whole day, then drink up the whole in two hours 
at the gin-shop ! These pickmen pioneers of the 
Iron Horse, with their worst habits, are yet a kind 
of John-the-Baptists to the march and mission of 
civilization, preparing its way in the wilderness, and 
bringing secluded and isolated populations to its light 
and intercourse. It is wonderful how they are working 
their way northward among these bald and thick-set 
mountains. When I first visited Scotland, in 1846, 
the only piece of railroad north of the Forth was 
that between Dundee and Arbroath, hardly an hour 
long. Now the iron pathways are running in every 



39O A Walk from 

direction, making grand junctions at points which had 
never felt the navvy's pick a dozen years ago. Here 
is one heading towards John O'Groat's, grubbing its 
way like a mole around the firths, cutting spiral gains 
into the rock-ribbed hills, bridging the deep and dark 
gorges, and holding on steadily north-poleward with 
a brave faith and faculty of patience that moves 
mountains, or as much of them as blocks its course. 
The progress is slow, silent, but sure. The world, busy 
in other doings, does not hear the pick, nor the speech 
of the powder when it speaks to a huge rock a-straddle 
the path. The world, even including the shareholders, 
hears but little, if anything, of the progress of the work 
for months, perhaps for a year. Then the consumma- 
tion is announced in the form of an invitation to the 
public to " assist " at the opening of a railroad through 
towns and villages that never saw the daylight the 
locomotive brings in its wake. So it will be here. 
Some day, in the present decade, there will be an 
excursion train advertised to run from London to 
John O'Grroat's; and perhaps the lineal descendants 
of Sigurd, or some other old Norse jarl, will wear 
the conductor's belt and cap or drive the engine. 

The weather was still unsettled, with much wind 
and rain. Resumed my walk, and at about four 
miles from Tain, crossed the Dornoch Firth in a sail 



London to John O* Groat's. 391 

ferry boat, and at noon reached Dornoch, the capital 
of Sutherlandshire. This was one of the fourteen 
cities of Scotland; and its little, chubby cathedral, 
and the tower of the old bishop's palace still give 
it a kind of Canterbury air. The Earls of Sutherland 
for many generations lie interred within the walls 
of this ancient church. After stopping here for an 
hour or two for dinner, I continued on to Golspie, 
the residence of the mighty lord of the manor, or 
the owner, master and human disposer of this great 
mountain county of Scotland. It is stated that full 
four-fifths of it belong to him who now holds the 
title, and that his other great estates, added to this 
teritory, make him the largest landowner in Great 
Britain and probably in Europe. Just before reaching 
Grolspie, a lofty, sombre mountain, with its bald head 
enveloped in the mist, and which I had been two hours 
apparently in passing, cleared away and revealed its 
full stature and more. Towering up from its top- 
most summit, a tall column lifted a human figure in 
bronze skyward cloud-high and frequently higher still. 
I believe the brazen face that thus looks into the pure 
and holy skies without blushing is a duplicate of the one 
worn in human flesh by His Grace, E victor I., who un- 
peopled his great county of many thousands of human 
inhabitants, and made nearly its whole area of 18,000 



392 A Walk from 

square miles a sheep-walk. But I will not break the 
seal of that history. It was full of bitter experience 
to multitudes. Not for the time being was it joyous, 
but grievous exceedingly surpassing endurance to 
many. But it is all over now. The ship-loads of 
evicted men and women who looked their last upon 
Scotland while its mountains and glens were reddened 
with the flames of their burning cottages, carried away 
with them a bitter feeling in their hearts which years 
of better experience did not soften. Not for their good 
was it meant in the motive of the transaction ; but 
for their good it worked most blessedly. It was a 
rough transplanting, and the tenderest fibres of human 
affection broke and bled under the uptearing ; but they 
took root in the Western World, and grew luxuriantly 
under the light and dew of a happier destiny. It 
was hard for fathers and mothers who were taking 
on the frost-work of age upon their brows; but for 
their children it was the birth of a new life; for 
them it was the introduction to a future which had 
a sun in it, rayful and radiant with the beams of 
hope and promise. Let those who denounce and 
deplore this harsh unpeopling come and stand upon 
the cold, bleak summit of one of these Sutherland 
mountains. Let them bring their compasses, or some 
instrument for measuring the angles, sines and cosines 



London to John O Groat's. 393 

of human conditions. Plant your theodolite here ; 
wipe the telescope's eye -with your handkerchief; look 
your keenest in the line of the lineage of these evicted 
thousands. Steady, now ! while the most tranquil light 
of the future is on the pathway of your eye. This 
first reach of your vision is the life-track of the fathers 
and mothers unhoused among these mountains. Look 
on beyond, over the longer life-line of their children; 
then farther still under the horizon of the remotest 
future to the track of their children's children. Can 
you make an anglo of a single degree's subtension in 
the hereditary conditions of these generations, or a 
dozen beyond ? Can you detect a point of departure 
by which the second generation would have diverged 
from the first, or the third from the second, and have 
attained to a higher life of comfort, intelligence, social 
and political position had they remained in these 
mountain cottages, grubbed on their cottage farms, 
and lived from hand to mouth on stinted rations of 
oatmeal and potatoes, as their ancestors had done from 
time immemorial ? Can you see, among all the hopeful 
possibilities of Time's to-morrows, any such change for 
the better ? You can sight no such prospect with your 
telescope in that direction. Turn it around and sweep 
the horizon of that other condition into which they 
were thrust, weeping and wrathful, against their will. 



394 <d Walk from 

Follow them across the Atlantic to North America, to 
their homes in the States and in the Canadas. Measure 
the angle they made in this transposition, and the lati- 
tude and longitude of social and moral life they have 
reached from this Sutherland point of departure. The 
sons of the fathers and mothers who had their family 
nests stirred up so cruelly, and scattered, like those 
of rooks, from their holdings in the cliffs, gorges and 
glens of these cold mountains, are now among the 
most substantial and respected men of the Western 
World. Some of them to-day are mayors of towns 
of larger population than the whole county of Suther- 
land. Some, doubtless, are members of Congress, 
representing each a constituency of one hundred thou- 
sand persons, and a vast amount of intelligence, wealth 
and industry. They are merchants, manufacturers, 
farmers, teachers and preachers, filling all the pro- 
fessions and occupations of the continent. Is not that 
an angle of promise to your telescope ? Is not that 
a line of divergence which has conducted these evicted 
populations, at a small distance from this point of 
departure, into the better latitudes of human expe- 
rience ? The selling of this Scotch Joseph to America 
was more purely and simply a pecuniary transaction 
than that recorded in Scripture ; for in that the unkind 
and jealous brothers sold the innocent boy for envy, 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 395 

not for the love of pelf, though the Ishmaelites bought 
him on speculation. But not for envy was the Suther- 
land lad sold and shipped to a foreign land, but rather 
for a contemptuous estimate of his money value. The 
proprietor-patriarch of the county took to a more quiet 
and profitable favorite the sheep, and sent it to 
feed on a pasture enriched with the ashes of Joseph's 
cottage. It is to be feared he meant only money ; 
but Providence meant a blessing beyond the measure- 
ment of money to the evicted; and what Providence 
meant it made for him and his posterity, and they are 
now enjoying it. 

Dunrobin Castle, the grand residence of the Duke of 
Sutherland, looks off upon the sea at Grolspie. It is 
truly a magnificent edifice, ranking with the first 
palaces of Christendom. Nearly eight hundred years 
has it been in building, though, I believe, all that 
commands admiration for stature and style is the 
work of the present century. Whatever the Suther- 
land family may have been in local position and 
history in past centuries, one of the noblest women 
that ever ennobled the nobility of Great Britain, has 
given the name a celebrity and an estimation in 
America which all who ever wore it before never won 
for it. The Duchess of Sutherland, the noble and large- 
hearted sister of Lord Morpeth-Carlisle, has given to 



396 A Walk from 

the coronet she wore a lustre brighter to the American 
eye than the light of diadems which have dazzled 
millions in Europe. When the Fatherhood of God 
and the Brotherhood of Men shall come to its high 
place in the hearts of nations as the crown-faith of all 
their creeds, what this noble woman felt, said and did 
for the Slave in his bonds shall be mentioned of her 
by the preachers of that great doctrine in years to 
come. When the jewels of Humanity's memories shall 
be made up, she who, as it were, bent down to him in 
his prison-house and put her jewelled hands to the 
breaking of his fetters, shall stand, with women of the 
same sympathy, only next to her who broke her box 
of ointment on the Saviour's feet. 

The next day made a walk to Helmsdale, a distance 
of about eighteen miles. The weather was favorable, 
the scenery grand and varied with almost every feature 
that could give it interest. The finest of roads wound 
in and out around the mountain headlands, so that 
alternately I was walking upon a lofty esplanade 
overlooking the still expanse of the steel-blue sea, 
then facing inward to the gorges of the grand and 
solemn hills. Found comfortable quarters in one of 
the inns of Helmsdale, a vigorous, busy, fishing village 
nestling under the shadow of the mountains at the 
mouth of a little river of the same name. After tea, 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 397 

went down to the wharf or quay and had some con- 
versation with one of the masters of the business. He 
cured and put up about 30,000 barrels of herrings him- 
self in a season, employing, while it lasted, 500 persons. 
Their chief market is the North of Europe, especially 
Poland, and the business was consequently much de- 
pressed on account of the troubles in that country. The 
occupation of this little sea-side village illustrated the 
ramifications of commerce. They imported their salt 
from Liverpool, their staves from Norway and their 
hoops from London. 

Set out again immediately after breakfast, feeling 
that I was drawing near to the end of my journey. 
I was soon in the treeless county of Caithness, so 
fraught with the wild romance of the Norsemen. 
Passed over the bleakest district I had yet seen, called 
Old Ord, a cold, rough, cloud-breeding region that the 
very heavens above seem to frown upon with a scowl 
of dissatisfaction. Still, the road over this dark, 
mountain desert, though staked on each side to keep 
the traveller from wandering in the blinding snows 
of winter, was as beautifully kept as the carriage-way 
in the park of Dunrobin Castle. The sending of an 
English queen to conciliate the Welsh, by giving birth 
to a son in one of their castles, was not a much better 
stroke of policy than that of England in perforating 



398 A Walk from 

Scotland to the Northern Sea with this unparalleled 
and splendid road, constructed at first for a military 
purpose. I heard a man repeat a couplet, probably of 
unwritten poetry, in popular vogue among the High- 
lands, and which has quite an Irish collocation of 
ideas. It is spoken thus, as far as I can recollect 

Who knew these roads ere they were made 
Should hless the Lord for General Wade. 

I doubt if there are ten consecutive miles of carriage- 
road in America that could compare for excellence 
with that over the desert of Old Ord. I was overtaken 
by a heavy shower before I had made the trajet, and 
was glad to reach one of the most comfortable inns of 
the Highlands, in the beautiful, romantic and pic- 
turesque glen of Berriedale. Here, nestling between 
lofty mountain ridges, which warded off the blasting 
sea- winds sweeping across from Norway, were planta- 
tions and groves of trees, almost the only ones I saw 
in the county. Nothing could exceed the hospitality 
of the family that kept the large, white-faced hotel at 
the bottom of this pleasant valley ; especially after I 
incidentally said that I had walked all the way from 
London to see the country and people. They admitted 
me into the kitchen and gave me a seat by the great 
peat fire, where I had a long talk with them, beginning 
with the mother. Having intimated that I was an 



London to John O' Groat's. 399 

American, the whole family, old and young, including 
the landlord, gathered around me and had a hundred 
questions to ask. They related many incidents about 
the great eviction in Sutherland, which was an event 
that seems to make a large stock of legendary and 
unwritten stories, like the old Sagas of the Northmen. 
When I had dried my clothes and eaten a comfortable 
dinner before their kitchen fire and resumed my staff, 
they all followed me out to the road, and then with 
their wishes for a good journey as long as I was in 
hearing distance. Continued my walk around head- 
lands, now looking seaward, now mountainward, now 
ascending on heather-bound esplanades, now descend- 
ing in zig-zag directions into deep glens, over massive 
and elegant bridges that spanned the mountain streams 
and their steep and jagged banks. After a walk of 
eighteen miles, put up at an inn a little north of the 
village of Dunbeath, kept by an intelligent and indus- 
trious farmer. The rain had continued most of the 
day, and I was obliged to seek shelter sometimes under 
a stunted tree which helped out the protecting power 
of a weather-beaten umbrella ; now in the doorway of 
an open stable or cow-shed, and once with my back 
against the door of a wayside church, which kept off 
the rain in one direction. This being a kind of border- 
season between summer and autumn, there were no 



400 A Walk from 

fires in the inns generally except in the kitchen, and 
I soon learned to make for that, and always found a 
kindly welcome to its comforts ; though sometimes the 
good woman and her lassie would look a little flushed 
at having their "busiest culinary operations revealed so 
suddenly to a stranger. Some of these kitchens are 
fitted for sleeping apartments ; occasionally having two 
tiers of berths like a ship's cabin, slightly and rudely 
curtained. 

The family of this wayside inn, seemingly like every 
other family in the country, had connections in 
America, embracing brothers, uncles and cousins. I 
was shown a little paper casket of hair flower-work, 
sent by post ! It was wrought of locks of every shade 
and tint, from the snow of a grandmother over one 
hundred years of age to the little, sunny curls of the 
youngest child in the circle of kindred families. The 
Scotch branch had collected specimens from relatives 
in Great Britain and forwarded them to the family 
in America, one of whose daughters had worked them 
into two bouquets of flowers, sending one of them by 
post to this little white cottage on the Northern Sea, as 
a memento of affection. What enhanced the beauty of 
this interchange was the fact, that forty-eight years had 
elapsed since the landlord's brother left his native land 
for New England and had never seen it since. Still, 



London to John O* Groat's. 401 

the cousins, who had never seen each other's faces, had 
kept up an affectionate correspondence. A son and 
son-in-law of the brother in America were in the 
Federal army, and here was a sea-divided family filled 
with all the sad, silent solicitude of affection for beloved 
ones exposed to the fearful hazards of a war sundering 
more ties of blood-relationship than any other ever 
waged on earth. 

Saturday, September 27th. Eesumed my walk with 
increased animation, feeling myself within two days' 
distance of its end. The scenery softens down to an 
agricultural aspect, the country declining northerly 
toward the sea. Passed through a well-cultivated 
district, never unpeopled or wasted by eviction, but 
held by a kind of even yeomanry of proprietors. The 
cottages are comfortable, resembling the white houses 
of New England considerably. They are nearly all 
of one story, with a chimney at each end, broadside to 
the road, and a door in the middle, dividing the house 
into two apartments. They are built of stone, the 
newest ones having a slate roof. Some of them are 
whitewashed, others so liberally jointed with mortar as 
to give them a bright and cheery appearance. These, 
of course, are the last edition of cottages, enlarged and 
amended in every way. The old issues are ragged 
volumes, mostly bound in turf or bog grass, well corded 
2 i) 



4O2 A Walk from 

down with ropes of heather, giving the roof a singular 
ribby look, rounded on the ridge. In many cases a 
stone is attached to each end of the rope, so as to make 
it hug the thatch closely. I noticed that in a con- 
siderable number of the old cottages the stone wall 
only reached up a foot or two from the ground, the 
rest being made up of blocks of peat. Some of the 
oldest had no premonitory symptoms of a chimney, 
except a hole in the roof for the smoke. These in no 
way differed from the stone-and-turf cottages in 
Ireland. 

Again occasional showers brought me into acquain- 
tance with the people living near the road. In every 
case I found them kind and hospitable, giving me a 
pleasant welcome and the best seat by their peat-fire. 
I sat by one an hour while the rain fell cold and fast 
outside. The good woman and her daughter were 
busy baking barley-cakes. They were the first I had 
seen, and I ate them with a peculiar zest of appetite. 
Told them many stories about America in return for a 
great deal of information about the customs and condi- 
tion of the working-people. They generally built their 
own cottages, costing from 40 to 50, not counting in 
their own labor. I met on the road scores of fishermen 
returning to their homes at the conclusion of the 
herring season ; and was struck with their appearance 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 403 

in every way. They are truly a stalwart race of men, 
broad-chested, of intelligent physiognomy, with Scan- 
dinavian features fully developed. A half dozen of 
them followed a horse-cart containing their nets all 
done up in a round ball, like a bladder of snuff, with 
the number of their boat marked upon it. 

At about four p.m., I came in sight of the steeples 
of Wick, a brave, little city by the Norse Sea, which 
may not only be called the Wick but the Candle of 
Northern Scotland; lighting, like a polar star, this 
hyperborean shoreland of the British isle. I never 
entered a town with livelier pleasure. It is virtually 
the last and farthest on the mainland in this direction. 
Its history is full of interest. Its great business is full 
of vigor, daring and danger. Here is the great land- 
home of the Vikings of the nineteenth century ; the 
indomitable men who walk the roaring and crested 
billows of this Northern Ocean in their black, tough 
sea-boats and bring ashore the hard-earned spoils of 
the deep. This is the great metropolis of Fishdom. 
Eric the Red, nor any other pre-Columbus navigator 
of the North American Seas, ever mustered braver 
crews than these sea-boats carry to their morning beats. 
Ten thousand of as hardy men as ever wrestled with 
the waves, and threw them too, are out upon that 
wide water-wold before the sun looks on it half of 
2 n 2 



404 A Walk from 

them wearing the features of their Norse lineage, as 
light-haired and crisp-whiskered as the sailors of 
Harold the Fair-haired a thousand years ago. They 
come from all the coasts of Scotland, from Orkney, 
Shetland, the Hebrides and Lewes islands, and down 
out of the heart of the Highlands. It is a hard and 
daring industry they follow, and hundreds of graves 
on the shore and thousands at the bottom of the sea 
have been made with no names on them, as the long 
record of the hazards they run in the perilous occu- 
pation. But they keep their ranks full from year to 
year, pushing out new boats marked with higher 
numbers. 

The harbor has been dangerous and difficult of 
access, but of late a great effort has been made to 
render it more safe and commodious. The Scotch 
fisheries now yield from 250,000 to 300,000 barrels of 
herrings annually, employing about 15,000 men ; and 
Wick stands first among all the fishing ports of the 
kingdom. It is a thriving town, well supplied with 
churches, schools, hotels, banks and printing-offices. 
Several new buildings are now being erected which 
will rank high in architecture and add new features 
of elegance to the place. The population is a vigorous, 
intelligent, highly moral and well-read community, as 
I could not fail to notice on attending service on the 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 405 

sabbath at different places of worship. Wick is 
honored with this distinction it assembles a larger 
congregation of men to listen to the glad Evangel on 
Sunday than any city of the world ever musters under 
one roof for the same purpose. It is the out-door church 
of the fishermen. They sometimes number 5,000 adult 
men, sea-beaten and sun-burnt, gathered in from 
mountainous island and mainland all around the 
northern coasts of Scotland. 

Monday, Sept. 28th. The weather was favorable, and 
I set out on my last day's walk northward with a 
sense of satisfaction I could hardly describe. The 
scenery was beautiful in every direction. The road 
was perfect up to the last rod ; as well kept as if it 
ran through a nobleman's park. The country most 
of the way was well cultivated oats being the prin- 
cipal crop. Here, almost within sight of the Orkneys, 
I heard the clatter of the reaping machine, which, 
doubtless, puts out the same utterance over and upon 
the sea at Land's End. It has travelled fast and 
fur since 1851, when it first made its appearance in 
Europe in the Crystal Palace, as one of the wild, 
impracticable " notions " of American genius. In 
Wick I visited a newspaper establishment and saw 
in operation one of the old " Columbians " or the 
American printing-press, surmounted by the eagle of 



406 A Walk from 

the Republic. The sewing-machine is in all the 
towns and villages on the island. If there is not an- 
American clock at John O'Groat's, I hope some of my 
fellow-townsmen will send one there, Bristol-built. 
They are pleasant tokens of free-labor genius. No 
land tilled by slaves could produce them. I saw 
many large and highly-cultivated farms on these 
last miles of my walk. The country was propor- 
tionately divided between food and fuel. Oats and 
barley constitute the grain-crops. The uncultivated 
land interspersed with the yellow fields of harvest 
is reserved for peat the poor man's fuel and his 
wealth. For were it not for the inexhaustible 
abundance of this cheap and accessible firing, he 
could hardly inhabit this region. It would seem 
strange to an American, who had not realised the 
difference of the two climates, to see fields full of 
reapers on the very threshold of October, as I saw 
them on this last day's walk. I counted twelve 
women and two men in one field plying the sickle, 
all strongly-built and good-looking and well dressed 
withal. 

The sea was as still and blue as a lake. A lark 
was soaring and warbling over it with as happy 
and hopeful a voice as if it were singing over the 
greenest acres of an English meadow. When I had 



London to John O Groat's. 407 

made half of the seventeen miles between Wick and 
John O'Grroat's, I began to look with the liveliest 
interest for the first glimpse of the Orkneys, but 
projecting and ridgy headlands intercepted the pros- 
pect. About three p.m., as the road emerged from 
behind one of them, those famous islands burst 
suddenly into view ! There they were ! in full 
sight, so near that their grain-fields and white cottages 
and all their distinguishing features seemed within 
half a mile's distance. This was the most interesting 
coup d'ceil that I ever caught in any country. Here, 
then, after weeks and months of travel on foot, I 
was at the end of my journey. Through all the 
days of this period I had faced northward, and here 
was the Ultima Thule, the goal and termination of 
my tour. The road to the sea diverged from the 
main turnpike, which continued around the coast to 
Thurso. Followed this branch a couple of miles, 
when it ended at the door of a little, quiet, one-story 
inn on the very shore of the Pentland Firth. It 
was a moment of the liveliest enjoyment to me. 
When I left London, about the middle of July, I 
was slowly recovering from a severe indisposition and 
hardly expected to be able to make more than a few 
miles of my projected walk. But I had gathered 
strength daily, and when I brought up at this little 



408 A Walk from 

inn at the very jumping-off end of Scotland, I was 
fresher and more vigorous on foot than at any previous 
stage of the journey. 

Having found to my great satisfaction that they 
could ' give me a bed for the night, I went with two 
gentlemen of the neighborhood to see the site of the 
celebrated John O'Grroat's House, about a mile and a 
half from the inn. There was only a footpath to it 
across intervening fields, and when we reached it a 
rather vigorous exercise of the organ of individuality 
was requisite to "locate" the foundations of "the 
house that Jack built." Indeed, pilgrims to the 
shrine of this famous domicile are liable to much 
disappointment at finding so little remaining of a 
residence so historical. Literally not one stone is 
left upon another. A large stone granary standing 
near is said to have been built of the debri* of the 
house, and this helps out one's faith when struggling 
to believe in the existence of such a building at all. 
A certain ridgy rising in the ground, to which you 
try to give an octagonal shape, is pointed out as 
indicating the foundations ; but an unsatisfactory 
obscurity rests upon the whole history of the estab- 
lishment. Whether true or not, that history of the 
house which one would prefer to believe runs thus : 

In the reign of James IV. of Scotland, three 



London to John O' Groat's. 409 

brothers, Malcolm, Gavin, and John de Groat, natives 
of Holland, came to this coast of Caithness, with a 
letter in Latin from that monarch recommending them 
to the protection and countenance of his subjects 
hereabout. They got possession of a large district of 
land and in process of time multiplied and prospered 
until they numbered eight different proprietors by the 
name of Groat. On one of the annual dinners 
instituted to commemorate their arrival in Caithness, 
a dispute arose as to the right of precedency in taking 
the door and the head of the table. This waxed very 
serious and threatened to break up these annual 
gatherings. But the wisdom and virtue of John 
prevented this rupture. He made a touching speech 
to them, soothing their angry spirits with an appeal 
to the common and precious memories of their native 
land and to all their joint experiences in this. He 
entreated them to return to their homes quietly, and 
he would remedy the current difficulty at the next 
meeting. Won by his kindly spirit and words, they 
complied with his request. In the interval John 
built a house expressly for the purpose, of an octagonal 
form, with eight doors and windows. He then placed 
a table of oak, of the same shape, in the middle, and 
when the next meeting took place, he desired each 
head of the different Groat families to enter at his 



4io A Walk from 

own door and sit at the head of his own table. This 
happy and ingenious plan restored good feeling and 
a pleasant footing to the sensitive families and gave 
to the good Dutchman's name an interest which it 
will carry with it forever. 

After filling my pockets with some beautiful, little 
shells strewing the site of the building called "John 
O'Groat's buckies," I returned to the inn. One of 
the gentlemen who accompanied me was the tenant 
of the farm which must have been John's homestead, 
containing about two hundred acres. It was mostly 
in oats, still standing, with a good promise of forty 
bushels to the acre. He resided at Thurso, some 
twenty miles distant, and found no difficulty in carry- 
ing on the estate through a hired foreman. I never 
passed a more enjoyable evening than in the little, cosy, 
low-jointed parlor of this sea-side inn. Scotch cakes 
never had such a relish for me nor a peat-fire more 
comfortable fellowship of pleasant fancies as I sat at 
the tea-table. There was a moaning of winds down 
the Pentland Firth a clattering and chattering of 
window shutters, as if the unrestful spirits of the old 
Vikings and Norse heroes were walking up and down 
the scene of their wild histories and gibbering over 
their feats and fates. Spent an hour or two in writing 
letters to friends in England and America to tell them 



London to John O 1 Groat's. 411 

of my arrival at this extreme goal of my walk, aiid a 
full hour in poring over the visitors' book, in which 
there were names from all countries in Christendom 
and also impressions and observations in prose, poetry, 
English, French, Latin, German and other languages. 
Many of the comments thus recorded intimated some 
dissatisfaction that John O'Groat's House was so 
mythical; that so much had to be supplied by the 
imagination ; that not even a stone of the foundation 
remained in its place to assist fancy to erect the build- 
ing into a positive fact of history. But they all bore 
full and sometimes fervid testimony to the good cheer 
of the inn at the hands of the landlady. There was 
one record which blended loyalty to palate and 
patriotism " The Roast Beef of Old England " and 
" God save the Queen " rather amusingly. A party 
wrote their impressions after this manner " Visited 
John O'Groat's House ; found little to see ; came back 
tired and hungry ; walked into a couple of tender 
chickens and a good piece of bacon : God save Mrs. 
Manson and all the Eoyal Family ! " This concluding 
" sentiment" was doubtless sincere and honest, although 
it involved a question of precedence in the rank of 
two feelings which John the Dutchman could have 
hardly settled by his eight-angled plan of adjustment. 
The next morning, for the first time for nearly three 



412 A Walk from 

months of continuous travel, I facet! southward, 
leaving behind me the Orkneys unvisited, though I 
had a strong desire to see these celebrated islands the 
theatre of so much interesting history. Twenty years 
ago I translated all the "Sagas" relating to the voyages 
and exploits of the Northmen in these northern seas 
and islands, their explorations of the coast of North 
America centuries before Columbus was born, their 
doings in Iceland and on all the islands great and 
small now forming the British realms. This gave 
additional zest to my enjoyment in standing on the 
shore of the Pentland Firth and looking over upon 
the scene of old Haoo's and Sigurd's doing, daring 
and dying. 

Footed it back to Wick and there terminated my 
walk, having measured, step by step, full seven 
hundred miles since I left London, counting in the 
divergences from a straight line which I had made. 
In the evening I addressed a large and intelligent 
audience which had been convened at short notice, 
and I never stood up before one with such peculiar 
satisfaction as in this North-star town of Scotland. 
I had travelled nearly the whole distance incoy., 
without hearing my own name on a pair of human 
lips for weeks. To lay aside this embargo and to 
speak to such a large congregation, face to face, was 



London to John O' Groat's. 413 

like coming back again into the great communions of 
humanity after a long and private fellowship with 
the secluded quietudes of Nature. 

At four p.m. the next day I took the Thurso coach 
and passed over in the night the whole distance that 
had occupied me a week in travelling by staff. 
Stopped a night in Inverness, another at Elgin, and 
spent the sabbath with my friend Anthony Cruick- 
shank at Sittyton, about fifteen miles north of Aber- 
deen. 



414 A Walk from 



CHAPTER XIX. 

ANTHONY CRUICKSHANK THE GREATEST HERD OF SHORT-HORNS IX 
THE WORLD RETURN TO LONDON AND TERMINATION OF MY TOUR. 

SITTYTON designates hardly a village in Aberdeen- 
shire, but it has become a point of great interest to 
the agricultural world a second Babraham. In this 
quiet, rural district, Anthony Cruickshank, a quiet, 
modest, meek- voiced member of the Society of Friends, 
" generally called Quakers," has made a history and a 
great enterprise of vast value to the world. He is one 
of those four-handed but one-minded men who, with a 
pair to each, build up simultaneously two great busi- 
nesses so symmetrically that you would think they gave 
their whole intellect, will and genius to one. Anthony 
Cruickshank, the Quaker of Sittyton, has made but little 
more noise in the world than Nature makes in building 
up some of her great and beautiful structures. His 
footsteps were so light and gentle that few knew that 
he was running at all, until they saw him lead the 
racers by a head at the end of the course. The world 
is wide, and dews of every temperature fall upon its 
meadow and pasture lands. Vast regions are fresh and 



London to John O' Groat's. 4.15 

green all the year round, yielding food for cattle seem- 
ingly in the best conditions created for their growth and 
perfection. The highest nobility and gentry of this 
and other countries are giving to the living statuary of 
these animals that science, taste and genius which the 
most enthusiastic artists are giving to the still, but 
speaking statuary of the canvas. The competition in 
this cultivation of animal life is wide and eager, and 
spreading fast over Christendom; emperors, kings, 
princes, dukes and belted barons are on the lists. 
Antipodean agriculturists meet in the great international 
concours of cattle, horses, sheep and swine. Never 
was royal blood or the inheritance of a crown threaded 
through divergent veins to its source with more care 
and pride than the lineage of these four-footed " prin- 
ces" and "princesses," " dukes" and " duchesses," and 
" knights" and " ladies" of the stable and pasture. 
No peerage ever kept a more jealous heraldry than the 
herd-book of this great quadruped ndblesse. The world, 
by consent, has crowned the Shorthorn Durham as the 
best blood that ever a horned animal carried in its veins. 
Princely connoisseurs and amateurs, and all the dilettanti, 
as well as practical agriculturists of Christendom, are 
giving more thought to the perfection and perpetua- 
tion of this blood than to that of any other name and 
breed. Still and this distinction is crowned with 



4i 6 A Walk from 

double merit by the fact Anthony Cruickshank, draper 
of Aberdeen, has worked his way, gradually and noise- 
lessly, to the very head and front of the Shorthorn knight- 
hood of the world. While pursuing the occupation to 
which he was bred with as much assiduity and success 
as if it had every thought and activity which a man 
should give to a business, he built up, at a considerable 
distance from his warehouse, an enterprise of an entirely 
different nature, to a magnitude which no other man has 
ever equalled. He now owns the largest herd of Short- 
horns in the world, breeding and feeding them to the 
highest perfection in the cold and naturally unfertile 
county of Aberdeen, which no man of less patience 
and perseverance would select as the ground on which 
to enter the lists against such an array of competitors 
in Great Britain and other countries. I regret that my 
Notes have already expanded to such a volume as to 
preclude a more extended account of his operations in 
this great field of usefulness. A few simple facts will 
suffice to give the reader an approximate idea of what 
he has done in this department. 

About the year 1825, young Cruickshank was put 
to a Friends' school in Cumberland. . He was a 
farmer's son, and seems to have conceived a great 
fancy for cattle from childhood. A gentleman resided 
not far from the school who was an owner and amateur 



London to John O' Groat's. 417 

of Shorthorns, and Anthony would frequently spend 
his half-holidays with him, inspecting and admiring 
his herd and asking him questions about their qualities 
and his way of treating them. From this school he 
was sent as an apprentice to a trading establishment 
in Edinburgh, and at the end of his term set up 
business for himself as a draper in Aberdeen. All 
through this period he carried with him his first 
interest in cattle-culture, but was unable to make a 
beginning in it until 1837, when he purchased a single 
Shorthorn cow in the county of Durham and soon 
afterward two other animals of the same blood. These 
constituted the nucleus of his herd at Sittyton. One 
by one he added other animals of the same stock, 
purchased in different parts of England, Ireland and 
Scotland. With these accessions by purchase, and 
from natural increase, his herd grew rapidly and 
prospered finely, so that he was obliged to add field 
to field and farm to farm to produce feed for such a 
number of mouths. In a few years he reached his 
present maximum which he does not wish to exceed. 
That is, his herd now averages annually three hundred 
head of this noble and beautiful race of animals, or the 
largest number of them owned by any one man in the 
world. In 1841 he announced his first sale of young 
bulls, and every year since that date has put up at 
2 E 



4i 8 A Walk from 

public auction the male progeny of the herd. These 
sales usually take place in the first week of October, 
and are attended by from 300 to 500 persons from all 
parts of the kingdom. After carefully inspecting the 
various lots, they adjourn to a substantial luncheon at 
twelve o'clock, and at one p.m. they repair to the 
sale ring and the bidding begins in good earnest, and 
the salesman's hammer falls quick and often, averaging 
about a minute and a half to each lot. Thus the forty 
lots of young bulls from six to ten months old are 
passed away, averaging from 33 to 44 guineas each. 
Besides these, from fifty to sixty young bulls, cows 
and heifers are disposed of by private sale during the 
season, ranging from 50 to 150 guineas, going to 
buyers from all parts of the world. 

It is Mr. Cruickshank's well-matured opinion, result- 
ing from long experience and observation, that there 
is no breed of cattle so easily maintained in good con- 
dition as the Shorthorns. His are fed on pasture grass 
from the 1st of May to the middle of October, lying- 
in the open field night and day. In the winter they 
are fed entirely on oat-straw and turnips. Not a handful 
of, hay or of meal is given them. The calves are 
allowed to suck their dams at pleasure. He is con- 
vinced that with this simple system of feeding, 
together with the bracing air of Aberdeciisliire, he 



London to John O' Groat's. 419 

has obtained a tribe of animals of hardy and robust 
constitutions, of early maturity, well calculated to 
improve the general stock of the country. 

It was to me a delight to see this, the greatest 
herd of Shorthorns in the world, numbering animals 
of apparently the highest perfection to which they 
could attain under human treatment. What a court 
and coterie of "princes," "dukes," "knights" and 
" ladies " those stables contained creatures that would 
not have dishonored higher names by wearing them ! 
I was pleased to find that Eepublics and their less 
pretentious titles were not excluded from the goodly 
fellowship of this short-horned aristocracy. There was 
one grand and noble bull called " President Lincoln," 
not only, I fancy, out of respect to "Honest Old 
Abe," but also in reference to the disposition and 
capacities of the animal. Truly, if let loose in some of 
our New England fields he would prove himself a 
tremendous " rail-splitter." 

After spending a quiet sabbath with this old friend 
and host at his farm-house at Sittyton, I took the 
train for Edinburgh and had a week of the liveliest 
enjoyment in that city, attending the meetings of the 
Social Science Congress. There I saw and heard for 
the first time tho venerable Lord Brougham, also men 
and women of less reputation, but of equal heart and 



420 A Walk from 

will to serve their kind and country. I had intended 
to make a separate chapter on these meetings and 
another on the re-unions of the British Association 
at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, but the space to which this 
volume must be limited precludes any notice of these 
most interesting and important gatherings. Stopping 
at different points on the way, I reached London 
about the middle of October, having occupied just 
four months in my northern tour; bringing back a 
heartful of sunny memories of what I had seen and 
enjoyed. 



Robinson and Waitt, Printers, tfa, Dowgate Hill, Cannon Street, London. 







A LIST OF BOOKS 

PUBLISHING BY 

SAMPSON LOW, SON, AND MARSTON. 

14, LUDGATE HILL, LONDON. 



[April, 1864. 
NEW ILLUSTRATED "WORKS. 

IAVOURJTE English Poems. Complete Edition. 
Comprising a Collection of the most celebrated Poems in 
the English Language, with but one or two exceptions 
unabridged, from Chaucer to Tennyson. With 300 Illus- 
trations by the first Artists. Two vols. royal 8vo. half- 
bound, top gilt, Roxburgh style, II. 18s. ; antique calf, SI. 3s. 

%* Either Volume sold separately as distinct works. 1. " Early 
English Poems, Chaucer to Dyer." 2. " Favourite English Poems, 
Thomson to Tennyson." Each handsomely bound in cloth, I/. Is. ; or 
morocco extra, II. 15s. 

" One of the choicest gift-books of the year. The selections are wisely 
and fairly made, whilst more than 300 dr airings by Messrs. Cope, Creswick, 
Medgrave, Taylor, Birket Foster, and other artists, feed the eye and eluci- 
' date the text. The paper is of a creamy tint, the type good, the binding 
solid, and the whole appearance handsome and solid. " Favourite English 
Poems " is not a toy book, to be laid for a week on the Christmas table and 
then thrown aside with the sparkling trifles of the Christmas tree, but an 
honest book, to be admired in the season of pleasant remembrances for its 
artistic beauty; and, when the holydays are over, to be placed for frequent 
and affectionate consultation, on a favourite shelf." Athenaeum. 

A Christmas Carol. 8vo. Illustrated. 12s. 

Life Portraits of Shakspeare ; with an Examination of the 
Authenticity, and a History of the various Representations of the Poet. 
By J. H. Friswell, Member of the National Shakspeare Committee. 
Illustrated by Photographs of authentic and received Portraits. Square 
8vo. 21s. ; or with Photograph of the Will, 25s. 

" Everything that is worth knowing we had almost said that can be 
known about the various presentations of the poet's face, is to be found in 
this beautiful monograph. . . . The photographs are simply among the 
clearest, softest, and most completely free from /line that u-e have ever 
seen. The author has made the subject the study of a life, and is equally 
qualified to approach it either from its literary or artistic side." Spectator. 

Life and Correspondence of Dr. Lyman Beecher, D.D. 2 vols. 
post 8vo. With Illustrations. Vol. I. 10s. 6d. 

Dockyard Economy and Naval Power. By P. Barry, Author of 
" The Dockyards and Shipyards of the Kingdom." With Photographs 
of the Great Private Establishments. 8vo. 21s. 

The Great Schools of England. By Howard Staunton, Esq. 
With numerous Illustrations. 8vo. [In the press. 

In the Woods with the Poets. Beautifully illustrated. Demy 8vo. 
cloth elegant, bevelled boards, 12s. (uniform with Weir's " Poetry of 
Nature ") ; morocco extra, 18s. 



Sampson Low and Co.'s 



The Poetry of Nature. Selected and Illustrated with Thirty-six 
Engravings by Harrison Weir. Small 4to. handsomely bound in cloth, 
gilt edges, 12s. ; morocco, II. Is. 

The Poets of the Elizabethan Age : a Selection of Songs and 
Ballads of the Days of Queen Elizabeth. Choicely illustrated by eminent 
Artists. Crown 8vo. Bevelled boards, 7s. 6rf. ; morocco, 12s. 

Songs and Sonnets from William Shakespeare ; selected and 
arranged by Howard Staunton, Esq. With 30 exquisite Drawings by 
John Gilbert. Fcap. 4to. bevelled boards, 7s. 6rf. ; morocco extra, 12s. 

A Gentle Life : Essays in Aid of the Formation of Character of 
Gentlemen and Gentlewomen. Crown 8vo. Second Edition, 6s. 

Mr. Tennyson's May Queen. Illustrated with Thirty-five De- 
signs by E. V. B. Small 4to. cloth, bevelled boards, 7s. 6d. ; or in mo- 
rocco antique, bound by Hayday, II. Is. Crown 8vo. edition, cloth 5s.; 
bevelled boards, 5s. 6d. ; morocco, 10s. 6d. 

A New Edition of Choice Editions of Choice Books. Illustrated 
by C. W. Cope, R.A., T. Creswick, R.A., Edward Duncan, Birket Foster, 
J. C. Horsley, A.R.A., George Hicks, R. Redgrave, R.A., C. Stonehonse, 
F. Tayler, George Thomas, H. J. Townshend, E. H. Wehnert, Harrison 
Weir, &c. Crown 8vo. cloth, 5s. each ; bevelled boards, 5s. 6d. ; or, in 
morocco, gilt edges, 10s. 6rf. 



Bloomfield's Farmer's Boy. 
Campbell's Pleasures of Hope. 
Coleridge's Ancient Mariner. 
Goldsmith's Deserted Village. 
Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield. 
Gray's Elegy in a Churchyard. 



Keat's Eve of St. Agnes. 
Milton's PAllegro. 
Shakspeare's Songs and Sonnets. 
Tennyson's May Queen. 
Warton's Hamlet. 
Wordsworth's Pastoral Poems. 



" Such works are a glorious beatification for a poet. Such works as 
these educate townsmen, who, surrounded by dead and artificial things, as 
country people are by life and nature, scarcely learn to look at nature till 
taught by these concentrated specimens of her beauty." Athenaeum. 

Our Little Ones in Heaven : Thoughts in Prose and Verse, se- 
lected from the Writings of favourite Authors; with an Introduction by 
the late Rev. Henry Robbins, M.A., beautifully printed by Clay, with 
Frontispiece after Sir Joshua Reynolds. Fcap. 8vo. cloth extra, 'As. 6d. 



LITERATURE, WORKS OF REFERENCE, AND 
EDUCATION. 

5?HE English Catalogue of Books: giving the date of 
publication of every book published from 1835 to 1863, in addi- 
tion to the title, size, price, and publisher, in one alphabet. 
An entirely new work, combining the Copyrights of the " Lon- 
don Catalogue " and the " British Catalogue." One thick 
volume of 900 pages. [In the press. 

A Walk from London to the Land's End. With Notes by the 
Way. With Photographs. By Elihu Burritt. Post 8vo. 12s. 

Man and Nature ; or, Physical Geography as Modified by Human 
Action. By George P. Marsh, Author of " Lectures on the English Lan- 
guage," &c. 8vo. [Shortly. 

Her Majesty's Mails : being an Historical, Descriptive, and 
Suggestive Account of the British Post Office. By an Officer q the De- 
partment. Post 8vo. 7s 6rf. 





List of Publications. 



The Origin and History of the English Language, and of the 
early literature it embodies. By the Hon. George P. Marsh, U. S. 
Minister at Turin, Author of " Lectures on the English Language." 
8vo. cloth extra, 16s. 

%* The copyright of this important work is secured both in Great 
Britain and the Continent. 

" Written with a grace and mastery of the language which show the 
Author to be not unworthy of ranking himself among English Classics ; it 
deserves a place on the shelves of every educated Englishman." Noncon- 
formist, Oct. 8, 1862. 

" Mr. Marsh shows not only a real love of his subject, but a thorough 
acquaintance with it. In the present series of lectures he carries on the 
history of the English language, and of English literature, from its very 
beginning down to the reign of Elizabeth." Saturday Review, Oct. 18. 

Lectures on the English Language; forming the Introductory 
Series to the foregoing Work. By the same Author. 8vo. Cloth, 16s. 
This is the only author's edition. 

" We give it a hearty welcome, as calculated to excite an interest in 
the study of English, and to render valuable assistance in its pursuit." 
Atheuxum. 

" We can only say that if the complete course be as remarkable 

for learning, diligence, discrimination, and good sense as the preparatory, 
we shall have to thank Mr. Marsh for the most perfect philological treatise 
upon tlie English language which we can hope to see in our generation." 

Critic 

English and Scotch Ballads, &c. An extensive Collection. De- 
signed as a Complement to the Works of the British Poets, and embracing 
nearly all the Ancient and Traditionary Ballads both of England and 
Scotland, in all the important varieties of form in which they are extant, 
with Notices of the kindred Ballads of other Nations. Edited by F. J. 
Child. A new Edition, revised by the Editor. 8 vols. fcap. cloth, 3s. Gd. 
each, uniform with Bonn's Libraries. 

Poets and Poetry of Europe; by Henry W. Longfellow. 8vo. 21s. 

-.. Being the first and 
ithfully reprinted. 8vo. 
cloth, 7s. 6d. ; half morocco, 10s. 6rf. 

The English Catalogue of Books published during 1863 ; with 
Title, Size, Price, and Publisher's Name. 8vo. 3s. 6cf. 

Index to the Subjects of Books published in the United Kingdom 

during the last Twenty Years 1837-1857. One vol. royal 8vo. Mo- 
rocco, I/. 6s. 

Although nominally the Index to the British Catalogue, it is equally 
so to all general Catalogues of Books during the same period, containing 
as many as 74,000 references, under subjects, so as to ensure immediate 
reference to Uie books on the subject required, each giving title, price, 
publisher, and date. 

Two valuable Appendices are also given A, containing full lists of all 
Libraries, Collections, Series, and Miscellanies and B, a List of Literary 
Societies, Printing Societies, and their Issues. 

The American Catalogue, or English Guide to American Lite- 
rature; giving the full title of original Works published in the United 
States of America since the year 1800, with especial reference to the 
works of interest to Great Britain, with the size, price, place, date 
of publication, and London prices. With comprehensive Index. 8vo. 
2s. 6d. Also Supplement, 1837-60. 8vo. 6d. 



Shakespeare's Tragedy of Hamlet: 1603-1604. Being: the first and 
second Editions of Shakespeare's great drama, fait! 



Sampson Low and (70. 's 



The Publishers' Circular, and General Record of British and 

Foreign Literature ; giving a transcript of the title-page of every work 
published in Great Britain, and every work of interest published abroad, 
with lists of all the publishing houses. 

Published regularly on the 1st and 15th of every Month, and forwarded 
post free to all parts of the world on payment of 8s. per annum. 
V* Established by the Publishers of London in 1837. 

The Handy-book of Patent and Copyright Law, English and 
Foreign, for the use of Inventors, Patentees, Authors, and Publishers. 
Comprising the Law and Practice of Patents, the Law of Copyright of 
Designs, the Law of Literary Copyright. By James Fraser, Esq. Post 
8vo. cloth, 4s. 6rf. (Uniform with Lord St. Leonard's " Handy-book of 
Property Law.") 

A Concise Summary of the Law of English and French Copyright 
Law and International Law, by Peter Burke. 12mo. 5s. 

Dr. Worcester's New and Greatly Enlarged Dictionary of the 
English Language. Adapted for Library or College Reference, compris- 
ing 40,000 Words more than Johnson's Dictionary, and 250 pages more 
than the Quarto Edition of Webster's Dictionary. In one Volume, royal 
4to. cloth, 1,834 pp. price 31s. 6d. The Cheapest Book ever published. 
" The volumes before us show a vast amount of diligence ; but with 
Webster it is diligence in combination with fancifulness, with Worcester in 
combination with good sense and judgment. Worcester's is the soberer and 
safer book, and may be pronounced the best existing English Lexicon." 

Athenceum, July 13, 1861. 

The Ladies' Reader : with some Plain and Simple Rules and In- 
structions for a good style of Reading aloud, and a variety of Selections 
for Exercise. By George VandenhofF, M.A., Author of " The Art of Elo- 
cution." Fcap. 8vo. Cloth, 5s. 

The Clerical Assistant : an Elocutionary Guide to the Reading 
of the Scriptures and the Liturgy, several passages being marked for 
Pitch and Emphasis : with some Observations on Clerical Bronchitus. 
By George Vandenhoff, M.A. Fcap. 8vo. Cloth, 3s. 6d. 

The Art of Elocution as an essential part of Rhetoric, with in- 
structions in Gesture, and an Appendix of Oratorical, Poetical and Dra- 
matic extracts. By George Vandenhoff, M'A. Third Edition. 5s. 

Latin-English Lexicon, by Dr. Andrews. 7th Edition. 8vo. 18s. 

The superiority of this justly-famed Lexicon is retained over all others 
by the fulness of its quotations, the including in the vocabulary proper 
names, the distinguishing whether the derivative is classical or otherwise, 
the exactness of the references to the original authors, and in the price. 

" Every page bears the impress of industry and care." Athenaeum. 

" The best Latin Dictionary, whether for the scholar or advanced stu- 
dent." Spectator. 

" We have no hesitation in saying it is the best Dictionary of the Latin 
language that has appeared." Literary Gazette. 

" We never saiv such a book published at such a price." Examiner. 

The Laws of Life, with especial reference to the Education of 
Girls. By Elizabeth Blackwell, M.D. New Edition, revised by the 
Author, 12mo. cloth, 3s. 6rf. 

The Farm and Fruit of Old. From Virgil. By a Market Gar- 
dener. Is. 

Usque ad Coelum ; or, the Dwellings of the People. By Thomas 
Hare, Esq., Barrister-at-Law. Fcap. Is. 




List of Publications. 



Work and Play. By Horace Bushnell, D.D., Author of " Na- 
ture and Supernatural." Fcap. 8vo. 3s. 6rf. 

Eyes and Ears. By Henry Ward Beecher, D.D., Author of 
" Life Thoughts," &c. Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d. 

The Charities of London : an Account of the Origin, Operations, 
and general Condition of the Charitable, Educational, and Religious 
Institutions of London. With copious Index. Also an Alphabetical Ap- 
pendix corrected to May 1863. Fcap. cloth, 5s. 

** The latter also as a separate publication, forms " Low's Shilling 
Guide to the Charities of London." 

Signals of Distress, in Refuges and Houses of Charity ; in Indus- 
trial Schools and Reformatories ; at Invalids' Dinner Tables, and in the 
Homes of the Little Sisters of the Poor, &c. &c. ; among the Fallen, the 
Vicious, and the Criminal ; where Missionaries travel, and where Good 
Samaritans clothe the naked. By Blanchard Jerrold, Author of " The 
Life of Douglas Jerrold," &c. Crown 8vo. 7s. Gd. 

The Children of Lutetia. By Blanchard Jerrold. 2 vols. post 
8vo. cloth, 16s. [Immediately. 

Prince Albert's Golden Precepts. Second Edition, with Photo- 
graph. A Memorial of the Prince Consort ; comprising Maxims and 
Extracts from Addresses of His late Royal Highness. Many now for 
the first time collected and carefully arranged. With an Index. Royal 
16mo. beautifully printed on toned paper, cloth, gilt edges, 2s. 6d. 



NEW BOOKS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE. 

;TANTON GRANGE; or, Life at a Private Tutor's. 
By the Rev. C. J. Atkinson, Author of " British Birds' Eggs," 
" Play Hours," &c. With Illustrations. Feap. 8vo. 5s. 

The Black Panther; or, a Boy's Adventures among 
the Red Skins. By Sir Lascelles Wraxall, Bart. With Illustrations. 
Fcap. 8vo. 5s. 

The Story of Mr. Wind and Madam Rain. Translated from the 
French of Paul de Musset, by permission of the Author. By Emily 
Makepeace. With 30 Illustrations on Wood, drawn by Charles Bennett. 
Small 8vo. 5s. 

Little Blue Hood : a Story for Little People. By Thomas Miller. 

Fcap. 8vo. cloth, 2s. 6d. ; fancy boards, 2s. With Illustration. 

The Boyhood of Martin Luther. By Henry Mayhew, Author 
of" The Peasant Boy Philosopher." With eight Illustrations by Absalom. 
Small 8vo. cloth, 6s. 

Life Amongst the North and South American Indians ; a Book for 
Boys. By George Catlin, Author of " Notes of Travel Amongst the North 
American Indians," &c. With Illustrations. Small post 8vo. cloth, 6s. 

" An admirable book, full of useful information, icrapt up in stories 
peculiarly adapted to rouse the imagination and stimulate the curiosity of 
boys and girls. To compare a book with ' Robinson Crusoe,' and to say that 
it sustains such, comparison is to give it high praise indeed." Athenceum. 

The Story of Peter Parley's Own Life. From the Narrative of 
the late Samu.el Goodrich, Esq. (Peter Parley). Edited by his friend 
and admirer, Frank Freeman. With six Illustrations by W. Thomas. 
Fcap. 8vo. cloth, os. 




6 Sampson Low and <7o.'s 

Paul Duncan's Little by Little ; a Tale for Boys. Edited by 
Frank Freeman. With an Illustration by Charles Keene. Fcap. 8vo. 
cloth 2s. ; gilt edges, 2s. d. 

Uniform Volumes, with Frontispiece, same price. 
Boy Missionary; a Tale for Young People. By Mrs. J. M. Parker. 
Difficulties Overcome. By Miss Brightwell. 

The Babes in the. Basket : a Tale in the West Indian Insurrection. 
Jack Buntline ; the Life of a Sailor Boy. By W. H. G. Kingston. 

The Boy's Own Book of Boats. By W. H. G. Kingston. Illus- 
trations by E. Weedon, engraved by W. J. Linton. Fcap. 8vo. cloth, 5s. 
" This well-written, well-wrought book." Athenseum. 
" This is something better than a play-book ; and it would be difficult to 
find a more compendious and intelligible manual about all that relates to 
the variety and rig of vessels and nautical implements and gear." Satur- 
day Review. 

How to Make Miniature Pumps and a Fire-Engine : a Book for 
Boys. With Seven Illustrations. Fcap. 8vo. Is. 

Ernest Bracebridge : or, Schoolboy Days, by W. H. G. Kingston, 

Author of " Peter the Whaler," &c. Illustrated with Sixteen Engrav- 
ings, printed in Tints by Edmund Evans. Fcap. 8vo. 5s. 

The Voyage of the " Constance : " a Tale of the Arctic Seas. 
With an Appendix, comprising the Story of " The Fox." By Mary Gil- 
lies. Illustrated with Eight Engravings on Wood, from Drawings by 
Charles Keene. Fcap. 8vo. cloth, 5s. 

Stories of the Woods ; or, the Adventures of Leather-Stocking : 
A Book for Boys, compiled from Cooper's Series of " Leather-Stocking 
Tales." Fcap. cloth, Illustrated, 5s. 
" I have to own that I think the heroes of another writer, viz. ' Leather- 



Stories of the Sea ; Stirring Adventures selected from the Naval 
Tales of J. Fenimore Cooper. Illustrated. 12mo. cloth, 5s. 

The Book of Blockheads; How and what they shot, got; said, 
had; How they did, and what they did not. By Charles Bennett, 
Author of " Little Breeches," &c. With 28 Illustrations by the Author. 
4to cloth., 5s.; coloured, 7s. 6d. 

The Stories that Little Breeches Told ; and the Pictures that 
Charles Bennett drew for them. Dedicated by the latter to his Children. 
With upwards of 100 Etchings on copper. ito. cloth, 5s. ; or the plates 
coloured, 7s. 6d. 

The Children's Picture Book of the Sagacity of Animals. With 
numerous Illustrations by Harrison Weir. Super-royal 16mo. cloth. 5s. ; 
coloured, 7s. 6d. 

" A better reading-book for the young we have not seen for many a 
day." Athenaeum. 

The Children's Picture Book of Fables. Written expressly for 
Children, and Illustrated with Fifty large Engravings, from Drawings 
by Harrison Weir. Square, cloth extra, 5s. ; or coloured, 7s. <od. 

The Children's Treasury of Pleasure Books. With 140 Illustra- 
tions, from Drawings by John Absolon, Edward Wehnert, and Harrison 
Weir. Plain, os. ; coloured, 7s. 6rf. 



List of Publications. 



Snow Flakes, and what they told the Children. By the Author 
of " Little Bird Bed and Little Bird Blue." Illustrated by H. K. Browne, 
and beautifully printed in colours, uniform with "Child's Play" and 
" Little Bird." Square 16mo. bevelled boards extra, 5s. 

Child's Play. Illustrated with Sixteen Coloured Drawings by 
E. V. B., printed in fac-simile by W. Dickes* process, and ornamented 
with Initial Letters. Imp. 16mo. cloth extra, bevelled cloth, 5s. The 
Original Edition of this work was published at One Guinea. 

Little Bird Red and Little Bird Blue : a Song of the Woods 
told for Little Ones at Home. With Coloured Illustrations and Borders 
by T. B. Muequoid, Esq. Beautifully printed, with coloured Illustrations 
and borders, bevelled boards, 5s. 

" One of the most beautiful books for children we have ever seen. It is 
irresistible." Morning Herald. 

The Nursery Playmate. With 200 Illustrations, beautifully 
printed on thick paper. 4to. Illustrated boards, 5s. ; or the whole, well 
coloured, 9s. 

More Fun for our Young Friends. By Mary Gillies, Author 
of " Great Fun." With 24 large page Illustrations. Large 4to, 5s.; 
coloured, 7s. 6d. 

Fancy Tales, from the German. By J. S. Laurie, H. M. In- 
spector of Schools, and Otto Striedinger. Illustrated by H. Sandercock. 
Super-royal Itfino. cloth, 3s. &d. ; extra cloth, bevelled boards, 4s. 

Great Fun for Little Friends. With 28 Illustrations. Small 4to. 
cloth, 5s. ; coloured, 7s. 6d. 

Mark Willson's First Reader. By the Author of " The Picture 
Alphabet " and " The Picture Primer." With 120 Pictures. Is. 
Also by the same Author, 

The Picture Alphabet ; or Child's First Letter Book. With new 
and original Designs. 6d. 

The Picture Primer. Qd. 

" We cordially recommend these little books as amongst the very best of 
their kind, and should like to see them in every nursery in the kingdom." 
Dial, Jan. 31, 1862. 

" These two little books are among the best we ever saw of their kind. 
They are clearly and beautifully printed, and the illustrative designs are 
really like the things they represent, and are well chosen to suit an infant's 
comprehension, and to awaken its curiosity." Globe, Jan. 30, 1862. 

The Swiss Family Robinson ; or, the Adventures of a Father and 
Mother and Four Sons on a Desert Island. With Explanatory Notes and 
Illustrations. First and Second Series. New Edition, complete in one 
volume, 3s. 6rf. 

The Child's Book of Nature, by W. Hooker, M.D. With 180 
Illustrations. Sq. 12mo. cloth, bevelled. 8s. 8d. 

Actea ; a First Lesson in Natural History. By Mrs. Agassiz. 
Edited by Professor Agassiz. Illustrated. Feap. 8vo. 3s. M. 

Geography for my Children. By Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe. 
Author of " Uncle Tom's Cabin," &c. Arranged and Edited by an Eng- 
lish Lady, under the Direction of the Authoress. With upwards of Fifty 
Illustrations. Cloth extra, 4s. Qd. 



Sampson Low and Co.'s 




HISTORY AND BIOGRAPHY. 

HISTORY of West Point, the United States Military 
Academy, and its Military Importance. By Capt. E. C. 
Boyiiton, A.M. With Plan* and Illustrations. 8vo. 21s. 

The Twelve Great Battles of England, from Hastings 
to Waterloo. With Plans, feap. 8vo. cloth extra, 3s. Gd. 

Plutarch's Lives. An entirely new Library Edition, carefully 
revised and corrected, with some Original Translations by the Editor. 
Edited by A. H. Clough, Esq. sometime Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, 
and late Professor of English Language and Literature at University 
College. 5 vols. 8vo. cloth. 21. 10s. 

" Mr. Clough' s work is worthy of all praise, and we hope that it will 
tend to revive the study of Plutarch." Times. 

The Federalist : ^Collection of Essays written in favour of the 
New Constitution as agreed upon by the Federal Convention, Sept. 17, 
1787. Reprinted from the Original Text : with an Historical Introduc- 
tion and Notes by Henry B. Dawson. In 2 vols. Vol. I. with Portrait 
of Alexander Hamilton. 8vo. pp. 757, cloth, 18s. 

Eighty Years' Progress of British North America : showing the 
Wonderful Development of its Natural Resources by the unbounded 
Energy and Enterprise of its Inhabitants ; giving in an historical form 
the vast Improvements made in Agriculture, Commerce, and Trade; 
Modes of Travel and Transportation ; Mining and Educational Interests, 
&c. Illustrated with Steel Engravings. 8vo. pp. 776, cloth, 21s. 

George Washington's Life, by Washington Irving. Library 
Illustrated Edition. 5 vols. Imp. 8vo. 4i. 4s. Library Edit. Royal 8vo. 
12s. each 

Life of John Adams, 2nd President of the United States, by C. 
F. Adams. 8vo. 14s. Life and Works complete, 10 vols. 14s. each. 




TRAVEL AND ADVENTURE. 

Southern Friends. By Edmund Kirke. One Vol. 
Fcap. 8vo., cloth, 2s. Gd. Cheap Edition. Fcap., boards, Is. Gd. 
A startling narrative of personal experience and adventure. 

Arabian Days and Nights; or, Rays from the East: 
a Narrative. By Marguerite A. Power. 1 vol. Post 8vo. 10s. Gd. 

" Miss Power's book is thoroughly interesting and does much credit to 
her talent for observation and description." London Review. 

Wild Scenes in South America ; or, Life in the Llanos of Vene- 
zuela. By Don Ramon Paez. Numerous Illustrations. Post 8vo. cloth, 
10s. Gd. 

After Icebergs with a Painter ; a Summer's Voyage to Labrador. 
By the Rev. Louis L. Noble. Post 8vo. with coloured plates, cloth, 10s. 6d. 
" This is a beautiful and true book, excellently suited for family reading, 
and its least recommendation is not that without cant or impertinence it 
turns every thought and emotion excited by the wonders it describes to the 
honour of the Creator." Daily News. 

From Calcutta to Pekin. A Personal Narrative of the Late War. 
By a Staff Officer. The only Authentic Narrative of the late War with 
China. In popular form, price 2s. Gd. 

Thirteen Months in the Rebel Army of America. By an Im- 
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